The new Roscommon senior hurling manager Ciaran Comerford has said that he “couldn’t be happier” with how preparations are going for the team ahead of what is going to be a very busy season. Hopes are high that Roscommon can progress in 2017 after a disastrous 2017 in league and championship.
The Laois man says that the panel have been working hard and have been training away over the past month and a half and have played a number of challenge games in recent weeks.
“Our training has been going well. We have done 20 sessions to date and we have played a number of challenge games. We played Armagh last Sunday in Armagh and won by 3-18 to 0-11 and we also played Tooreen - and we are playing Mayo next Sunday.
“We have looked at between 35 and 40 players and we have settled on a panel of 28 or 29 coming up to the league. The lads we have are working very hard and they are a great honest bunch of lads and are a pleasure to work with I have to say,” he said.
Ciaran says that fitness and a style of play is very important to develop at this time of the year.
“We are concentrating on getting the players fit and developing systems of play and the response from the lads has been great. We have a minimum of 23 or 24 at training every evening,” he said.
Roscommon have been training at AIT, Athlone GAA Club and in Ballyforan, and Ciaran says that they intend to get off to a winning start in the league on January 28th.
“We face Louth in our first game and it is a fairly intensive league campaign this year and we must get off to a good start. Our first aim will be to get out of that division and there is no reason why we cannot do that,” he said.
Then looking further down the road the aim is to do well in the Christy Ring Cup.
“Some of the stronger teams have moved up from the Christy Ring Cup to the new Tier 2 competition so we will have a great chance to do well in that competition but we will concentrate on the league first,” he said.
Ciaran will be without some familiar names as he prepares for the upcoming season.
“Micheal Kelly is not with us and Cathal Kenny has not recovered from his injury yet but we expect him back. Johnny Coyne is gone to the USA for work and he is a huge loss too. But we have some very good young players on the panel and the likes of Daniel Glynn will be stepping up this year. There is plenty of young talent on the panel,” he said.
“We have worked very hard in training but the only way of knowing how we are progressing is when we play competitive games. But I am confident that we can do well,” he concluded.
Ciaran Comerford will be joined by former player Ronan O’Meara, Johnny Keane from Portumna who is the hurling coach, and Gary Murphy (who lives in Four Roads) who will look after strength and conditioning. A new era dawns for Roscommon hurling.