This Saturday Roscommon face a big challenge when they travel to Sligo to face the home side in the Connacht semi-final.
Make no mistake about it, this will be a real test for an emerging Roscommon team. Sligo have made progress under Niall Carew and they will relish this challenge on their home pitch. They have plenty of scoring power with the likes of Mark Breheny, David Kelly and Adrian Marren in their ranks.
There is a lot of talk around that Sligo have been doing well in challenge matches recently, but those matches are often a poor yardstick as to how teams will do when it comes to the big championship game.
If Roscommon perform to the maximum of their ability they should win this game. Roscommon have made great progress in the league over the past couple of years and with the solid progress that they are also making at underage level there should be enough experience and quality in their ranks to weather whatever Sligo can throw at them.
Roscommon will go in as strong favourites but I now see a rise in Sligo’s confidence and that might just work in Roscommon’s favour as it will put more pressure on the Sligo team. But Roscommon must focus on their own performance and the management must get the team selection right and we must be prepared for whatever Sligo have in store for us on the night.
I have no doubt that Roscommon have been preparing for this game for a while and nothing will be left to chance. One of the things in our favour this weekend is that we have a very strong bench. Our subs that come on in the second half can help to change the game in our favour.
But mentally we have to be tuned from the first whistle as Sligo will throw the kitchen sink at us. They are still hurting from 2010 when they thought they had the Connacht title won. They have a lot of motivation going into this game so we will have to meet fire with fire and if we do we are good enough to win it.
Overall I think that Roscommon have better players and I expect the bench to be instrumental in a narrow but hard-fought Roscommon win.