With our place in this year’s Connacht final secured, it’s time to turn attention to who might be facing us in next month’s provincial decider. That question is (barring a draw) set to be sorted this coming weekend, with Sligo entertaining Roscommon on Saturday evening at Markievicz Park in the year’s second Connacht semi-final (throw-in 7pm).
It seems a bit odd that this match has been scheduled for a Saturday evening, as this time slot is usually given over to qualifier matches. It’s being broadcast live on Sky, though, which probably explains it. I still think it’s strange – surely both counties, and their respective supporters, would prefer a Sunday afternoon match time for a Connacht semi-final tie?
Onto the game itself, which sees Roscommon bidding to qualify for the provincial decider for the first time since 2011 while Sligo last made it that far in Connacht in 2012. The last time the two counties met in the Connacht championship was back in 2010 when they contested that year’s final at MacHale Park.
The Rossies, relegated from Division Three of the League that spring, were slight underdogs against a Sligo team managed by Kevin Walsh, who’d not only escaped Division Three via the upwardly mobile route a few months previously but had also beaten both ourselves and Galway on the way to the Connacht final. It was the Sheepstealers who bagged the Nestor Cup that day, however, with the weight of expectation and ten points from the boot of Donie Shine putting paid to the Yeats County’s hopes of a fourth provincial title.
Speaking of Donie Shine, the big Clann na nGael clubman is one of two players John Evans has omitted from his starting line-up for Sunday compared to the team that started against London in Ruislip last month. He’s replaced by Conor Daly while Ronan Stack replaces the injured Donal Ward. Sligo have also announced their pick for Sunday, with their chosen fifteen containing four championship debutants. Details of team news for both sides are here.
If you fancy going along to the game check out the opposition for July 19th, details on ticketing arrangements for Saturday evening are here. I’ve no idea, I’m afraid, what demand for tickets is like for this match.
With the Rossies now in Division One of the NFL while Sligo continue to languish in Division Three, it’s hardly surprising that the bookies are firmly of the opinion that League form will carry over into the championship – John Evans’ team are red-hot 4/11 favourites to win on Saturday evening. What do you reckon, though? Who’ll win through to face our lads in this year’s Connacht final?
Who'll win on Saturday evening?
- Roscommon (71%, 174 Votes)
- Sligo (29%, 72 Votes)
Total Voters: 246