The most important thing about last Saturday’s win against Cavan was that Roscommon actually got back on track after the disaster against Sligo.
The attitude of the players was right and you could see from the very start that Roscommon were up for the game.
Without Niall Carty, Donal Ward, Mark Healy, Cathal Shine and Senan Kilbride, the players who were chosen certainly stepped up to the mark and their scoring total of 3-17 was excellent.
Neil Collins, Seanie McDermott and Niall Daly were excellent in defence but David Keenan really shone. It was his best outing in a Roscommon jersey for a long time.
Elsewhere, Ian Kilbride worked very hard and it was great to see Donie Shine back in the team playing well and fully fit. Enda Smith and Cathal Cregg were also very effective, but the big plus for me was Ultan Harney, who is a class act.
Harney can play anywhere from number 8 to number 15 and he was a top class target man inside at full-forward on Saturday. His ball-winning ability and football intelligence were among the main reasons why Roscommon won this game. It is also very encouraging to have won so handsomely without so many key players.
However there are downsides too and it has to be pointed out that Cavan were very poor on the day. They had to play the entire second half with 14 men, yet it took Roscommon a long time to put them away. The standard of football was not high and both sides were guilty of giving the ball away time after time.
It was a very enjoyable game to be at, but I watched the entire seventy minutes again on Sunday morning and it was not as good in review. Tomas O’Se and Dermot Earley were in the studio and they were not exactly gushing in their praise of the teams or the standard of football.
Tommy Carr, who was co-commentator with Darragh Maloney, decided to give the man of the match award to Cathal Cregg. While Cathal played well, I don’t know what game Tommy Carr was watching because there were at least five Roscommon players more deserving of the accolade. My choice was Ultan Harney.
The draw means that Roscommon face another away game, this time against Fermanagh. It’s a dangerous game for Roscommon in Brewster Park but it is a very winnable one.
Fermanagh are improving – and they have a few excellent forwards – but Roscommon have enough good players to win it and progress to the last 12. One more victory and we will be playing football in August. After the display against Sligo, it would be some recovery.
Let’s see how Sunday goes first. The Rossies will be marching on the 12th of July!