Allianz National Football League Division One (Round 3):
Roscommon v Tyrone on Sunday in Dr. Hyde Park at 2 pm
What a difference a week makes! Roscommon’s opening three matches against Mayo, Monaghan and Tyrone looked daunting to say the least – but after last weekend’s heroics, Roscommon can look forward to this Sunday’s clash with Tyrone with renewed optimism.
While Roscommon are playing some great football, this will be a very tough encounter and could be even harder than last Sunday’s game given the circumstances.
Tyrone come to Roscommon desperate for a win and will be hugely motivated to take their first points of the campaign after two dismal performances.
Mickey Harte’s men scored only two points from play against Kerry and only went one better against Mayo last Sunday. It has been a dramatic slump in form for the team which contested the All-Ireland final against Dublin last September.
With players like Niall Morgan, Ronan McNamee, Rory Brennan, Mattie Donnelly, Tiernan McCann, Niall Sludden, Darren McCurry and Peter Harte they certainly cannot be taken lightly and they are a seasoned and experienced side find themselves in a tight corner.
However, Monaghan were also a seasoned and experienced side and Roscommon played a perfect game against them last Sunday, defending in numbers and hitting them on the counter attack. There is no doubt that if Anthony Cunningham’s side display the same hunger and the same appetite for hard work and will to win, they will not be far away this Sunday.
I have been impressed with Evan McGrath since his arrival on the scene, not alone is he defending well but going forward too. Niall Daly is the real leader of the Roscommon defence and his role is pivotal. He is leading by example. Ronan Daly also had a superb game on Sunday and looks back to his best. Tadgh O’Rourke and Enda Smith are doing really well at midfield.
There is no doubt that Conor Cox will be a big addition and it’s so important to have a good free-taker but hopefully we will see more from him in terms of general play in the next few games. Donie Smith will be back in contention this week and Ultan Harney is another man that is playing well and can prove to be a vital cog in the Roscommon machine. On the injury front, Diarmuid Murtagh is back in training while Conor Devaney is also on his way back.
I expect a really tough battle that may not be easy on the eye as both sides will be determined to keep the ‘back door’ closed. If Roscommon can reproduce the kind of performance we saw last Sunday then Tyrone will have to play really well to win. I think that both sides will get something out of it.
Prediction: A draw.