This weekend sees the Roscommon Senior Football Championship group stages draw to a conclusion, and with many questions still to be answered ahead of knockout stages, Seamus Duke takes a look at the possible permutations.
The situation: The only thing definite in this group is that Fuerty cannot end up in a relegation play-off and St. Brigid’s cannot top the group. The top three teams in each group will remain in the championship with the bottom team playing off for relegation. Group positions will be decided on head-to-head if only two teams are involved, scoring difference will be used if there are three or more requiring separation.
Elphin v Fuerty on Saturday in Strokestown at 6.15 pm
The formbook was thrown out the window so many times in round two that one has to be very cautious this week with so much at stake. When I saw Elphin easily deal with the threat of St. Brigid’s on day one I presumed that they would have no difficulty with St. Croan’s, but how wrong I was!
Fuerty have given a fantastic account of themselves in their inaugural senior campaign and were unlucky not to have taken two points against St. Brigid’s. If Fintan Cregg is back it will be a boost to Elphin. On the basis that he will be available, Peter Carney’s men can get something out of this match.
St. Croan’s v St. Brigid’s on Saturday at Dr. Hyde Park at 6.15 pm
Who would have predicted that this game could decide who will play in the relegation battle? Croan’s were very poor against Fuerty on day one but were a completely different outfit against Elphin in the last round. On their best form they are well capable of troubling a Brigid’s side who are certainly in transition.
However, with Niall McInerney, Brian Stack, Ian Kilbride, Pádraig Kelly and Ronan Stack on board I am expecting Brigid’s to edge home and avoid a relegation play-off. This is definitely our ‘Game of the Weekend’ with so much at stake.
Prediction: St. Brigid’s
The situation: In this group two things are certain, Roscommon Gaels have qualified for the quarter-finals and Michael Glavey’s definitely can’t end up in a relegation play-off. The match between St. Faithleach’s and Strokestown is the big one here.
Roscommon Gaels v Michael Glavey’s on Sunday at Lisnamult at 2 pm
Unbeaten Roscommon Gaels were impressive against St. Faithleach’s and will want to preserve their record against Glavey’s on home turf. Scott Oates and Cian Connolly won’t be available this time around but Mark Healy and Mark Nally could return for the town team.
Glavey’s were not as impressive in round two as they had been in the opening round. However, they have plenty of good players and this could be a very entertaining game. The Gaels should have enough to edge it but it could be close.
Prediction: Roscommon Gaels
Strokestown v St. Faithleach’s on Sunday in Strokestown at 12 noon
Another contender for ‘Game of the Weekend’ as Faithleach’s face a ‘must win’ encounter against their neighbours who will need at least a draw to keep them away from a relegation scenario. If Ciaráin Murtagh is back for the Ballyleague side it would be a huge boost for them.
Despite the excellent result against Michael Glavey’s in round two, Strokestown are without several prominent players for a variety of reasons which could cost them dearly. With Ciaráin Murtagh back, a hesitant vote goes to Faithleach’s.
Prediction: St. Faithleach’s
The situation: In this group two things are certain, Pádraig Pearses have qualified for the quarter-finals and Clann na nGael are out of the senior championship and will be involved in the relegation battle.
Pádraig Pearses v Clann na nGael on Sunday at Woodmount at 4.30 pm
No one could have predicted that this match would fall into the category of ‘dead rubber’ when the fixtures were announced! The shocking capitulation of Clann against Boyle has seen them ruled out of contention and Pearses will be hoping to preserve their unbeaten run to top the group. Pat Flanagan’s men have been winning but have not been hugely impressive so far. They should continue winning here though.
Prediction: Pádraig Pearses
Western Gaels v Boyle on Sunday in Frenchpark at 3 pm
Both sides are through and come into this match hoping for a morale-boosting win ahead of bigger games to come. Boyle were superb as they dismantled Clann in the last round and Evan McGrath, Tadgh McKenna, Cillian Cox, Seanie Purcell, Enda and Donie Smith and Cian McKeon were all very prominent.
Western Gaels have been playing well and will test Boyle on Sunday with the Cregg brothers, Seanie McDermott, Kevin Higgins and the returning Ciaran Cafferky all playing well. There won’t be much in it. If Boyle can put two good displays back-to-back, they can win narrowly.