Allianz National Football League Division 2 (Round 7)
Roscommon v Cork at Dr Hyde Park on Sunday at 3 pm
After last Sunday’s battling win against Cavan, Roscommon now know that victory against Cork this Sunday in Hyde Park will see them promoted back to Division One for 2019. On the basis of the progression that we have seen over the past few weeks, Roscommon will be expecting to win this match against a Cork side who have under-performed throughout this campaign.
Roscommon are improving with each performance and the character and will to win shown by the team when they were in a tight corner against Cavan last Sunday was very pleasing. Equally as positive was the impact that the bench had on the game. To have the likes of Conor Daly, Cathal Cregg, Enda Smith, Fintan Cregg, Seanie McDermott and Ultan Harney to bring on shows the strength of the squad and that’s what will be needed for the forthcoming championship and (hopefully) for Division One come the spring of 2019.
Roscommon were put to the pin of their collars to win against Cavan so no one should be getting carried away but these tough games are just what the squad needs with the championship around the corner.
For a county with 259 GAA clubs, it is astonishing that Cork football is at such a low ebb. They have won an incredible 10 Munster U-21 titles since 2004. If they were only to get one good player from each of those teams they should be able to compete at the very top, but they are struggling for some reason. They have changed their manager this year and Ronan McCarthy is now at the helm, but there doesn’t seem to have been much of an improvement in their fortunes.
Last Saturday night at Pairc Uí Rinn, they were beaten by Clare by two points and they are still not 100% certain of avoiding relegation to Division 3. It is not clear whether their Nemo Rangers contingent will be back for the Roscommon game but even if they are, one wonders how they will feel after being thrashed by Corofin in the club final on St. Patrick’s Day.
Mark Collins, John O’Rourke, the multi-talented Colm O’Neill and Ian Maguire look good players and if Luke Connolly, Paul Kerrigan and Brian O’Driscoll are back from club duty then Cork could pose a danger. But on the evidence of what we have seen in this league campaign so far there is something seriously wrong with football in the Rebel County.
It has been a topsy-turvy campaign for Kevin McStay’s men as they made an uncertain start in their opening two games. The last three games have seen a marked improvement, however, and if that can be maintained on Sunday then the two points that would make promotion an absolute certainty will be secured.
However, Cork are a sleeping giant and one of these days they are going to get their act together. Hopefully that won’t happen this Sunday but Roscommon will have to be ready for a battle.