Mayo gone but old rivalry renewed
After a week of controversy, when the Kildare v Mayo match did come around it was a cracker, and even though they were beaten, Mayo died with their boots on. Time, injuries, and suspensions have caught up with them, and it looks like they will be known as the best team never to win an All-Ireland. It is likely that we will not be seeing the likes of David Clarke, Colm Boyle, Seamie O’Shea, Keith Higgins, Andy Moran and Tom Parsons again. They have been great servants to Mayo football but they always found a way to lose out when it came to the biggest day of all. But they have given their supporters some roller-coaster ride since 2011.
Kildare are no world-beaters but I think we will see them in the Super 8s. Tyrone are a very boring team to watch and their win against Cavan was typical. They defended for most of the game and broke forward to get the scores they needed. I am glad Roscommon didn’t draw them.
Monaghan will be dangerous opposition for the rest of the championship. They have had two easy wins to get their campaign back on track and they are another team we should see in the final eight.
The clash of Roscommon and Armagh will bring back fond memories of an intense rivalry that existed between the two counties in the late 70s and early 80s. There were many epic clashes between them in league and championship. Many great friendships were forged among the people from both counties at that time and I am looking forward to meeting several old friends from the Orchard County in O’Moore Park on Saturday.
Good job Old Trafford isn’t in Ireland!
Looking at St. Conleth’s Park in Newbridge last Saturday evening on the TV it was clear once again that the ground could easily have taken another two or three thousand people in comfort. There were almost no people behind one goal at all.
Now before people start writing in, I understand and have read the Slattery Report. The health and safety regulations are about access and how quickly they can get everyone out of the venue as well as capacity, but even still the rules are far too draconian. As far as I can see it suits some people to quote the report when they don’t want a venue to host a match.
I have been to Old Trafford on many occasions and for the first 20 minutes after any game there is a crush of people leaving the ground and they have 75,000 at every home game. Good job that stadium is not in this country! It would be closed down due to ‘Health and Safety’. Hopefully Roscommon will be in the Super 8s after this weekend and we will have a home game (against Donegal) to look forward to.
Hyde Park a better investment!
I read in last week’s Western People newspaper that the Connacht Council have plans to construct a full size indoor GAA pitch with a 1,400-seater stand at the Centre of Excellence in Ballyhaunis. The cost is estimated to be in the region of €3 million to €5 million.
I’m sure that it’s a worthwhile project etc. but it’s all about priorities, and after the events surrounding the Connacht final and Dr Hyde Park, would it not be better for Connacht to allocate funds on a loan basis to the Roscommon County Board to carry out remedial works at the Hyde? The money would be paid back through match rent and there would be no rows going forward. Surely the indoor pitch can wait?
Roscommon’s first Poc Fáda winner!
Congratulations to Fiona Connell-Jones who became the first Roscommon woman to win the Connacht Poc Fáda competition on Monday night. She defeated all comers on the night and will now represent club, county and province on the Cooley Mountains on the August Bank Holiday weekend. Congratulations!
Sad passing of Mick the ‘kit man’
I was very sad to hear of the passing of Mick Mullen from Ballybride last week. Mick was the ‘kit man’ for Roscommon football teams for over 25 years and he is fondly remembered by hundreds of Roscommon footballers who passed ‘through his hands’.
He was an even-tempered, quietly spoken and extremely pleasant man who always had a kind word and time to talk to everyone he met, regardless of how busy he was. He loved the game of Gaelic football but he never got carried away when Roscommon won nor did he get down in the dumps when they lost. To his wife Noreen, sons Michael Jnr., Brian and Donal, daughters Mary and Irene, brothers, sisters, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends I extend my deepest sympathy. May he rest in peace.
Irish Open set for beautiful Ballyliffin
The 2018 Irish Open takes place this weekend at Ballyliffin in County Donegal and with the good weather set to continue, it looks like it will be another huge success. It is now back amongst the biggest tournaments on the European Tour and there is a top class field gathered. The tournament is shown on the Golf Channel in the USA and around the world as well and the exposure that Donegal will get will be massive with hundreds of millions of people tuning in and looking at our spectacular countryside. Shane Lowry is coming back into form so I will have a few bob each way on him.
Mbappé comes of age at World Cup
The symbolism of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo going out of the World Cup on the same day that Kylian Mbappé burst onto the scene is hard to ignore. Ronaldo and Messi may not be finished just yet but we have a new superstar in the game and the 19-year-old Frenchman looks a really special player.
The facts are that time moves on and new stars come along. There didn’t seem to be any heir apparent to the ‘big two’ who have dominated the world game for the past 10 years. Mbappe’s performances at this World Cup have changed all that!
Great reaction to magazine feature
There has been a big reaction to our special article in the Roscommon People Plus magazine about the All-Ireland U-21 win in 1978. So many people have contacted me requesting a copy of the magazine and I am working through the list. We had great fun doing the interviews for the article and the four men involved are mighty Roscommon football people and it was a pleasure to do it. It was a magical time for football in the county.
All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers Round 4
Roscommon v Armagh on Saturday in Portlaoise at 3 pm
This game is dealt with in far more detail elsewhere in the paper. Roscommon must be careful, but if they apply themselves and put in a big shift they are well capable of winning and getting to the Super 8s.
Cork v Tyrone on Saturday in Portlaoise at 5 pm
After beating Tipperary well in the Munster championship I thought that Cork were on the rise, but they were put firmly in their place by Kerry in the provincial final. I have not been impressed by Tyrone, they are not the team they were but they will be very hard to beat. They might just strangle the life out of the Rebels.
Fermanagh v Kildare on Saturday in Navan at 7 pm
Kildare will be on a high and will be expected to follow up their win against Mayo with another victory here but that might not be so straightforward. Fermanagh are a very limited team but they will defend with 14 men behind the ball. Kildare will have to be patient but they should have enough to get through.
Laois v Monaghan on Sunday in Navan at 2 pm
Monaghan have had two easy games so far in the qualifiers and while Laois might have more about them, they are still a team who operated out of Division 4 in the league. Laois have some very good players but Monaghan have too much class.
Leinster SHC Final Replay
Kilkenny v Galway on Sunday in Thurles at 3 pm
Last Sunday’s game was not the best, but the question is have Galway got the wake-up call they needed or are Kilkenny going to improve again? I would be of the former view and while it will be close again, I am expecting the Tribesmen to prevail.
All-Ireland SHC Preliminary Quarter-Finals
Limerick and Wexford to ease through to the quarter-finals proper at the expense of Carlow and Westmeath respectively.