Roscommon game coming into focus

It’s difficult to believe that a full week has already passed since the game – not to mention all the fun that surrounded it – against New York over in Gaelic Park. But it has, which means that it’s now only a week until we take on Roscommon.

Our Connacht SFC semi-final meeting with the neighbours throws in at Dr Hyde Park next Sunday at 4pm. Tyrone’s Seán Hurson is the ref, it’s on RTÉ and Midwest will have live radio commentary as well.

The Rossies have proved a bit of a stone in our shoe in the Championship in recent times. Close on two decades passed without a single Championship win for them over us but they ended that run in 2019 – in the process winning a Championship game over us in Castlebar for the first time since 1986 – and then they doubled the dose with another win Hastings Insurance MacHale Park last year.

Curiously, both of those wins for them occurred after we’d won the National League title. Maybe that’s not so curious after all, as they’d also beaten us in Connacht after we’d won the League in both 1970 and 2001.

Last year, however, we can at least – with a fair bit of justification – point to the ludicrousness of our having to play a Connacht Championship game just a week after playing in the League final. This year, by contrast, Derry – playing in a province of nine counties to Connacht’s seven – have a three-week break before their Championship opener.

Anyway, there’s nothing we can do about all that now.

Next Sunday we’ll be aiming to continue an unbeaten run in the Championship against the Rossies at Hyde Park that stretches all the way back to 2001. And even that one was a smash-and-grab win for them.

Roscommon’s poor Division One campaign this year no doubt has a bearing in our being installed as favourites for Sunday. So far at least, 2024 has the air of the difficult second album for Davy Burke, though it’s only the coming weeks that will demonstrate the veracity of that particular proposition.

There’s no question, though, but that they found Division One too hot to handle this year. They won just once, drew once and lost the other five games they played, including the one against us.

In Round 1 they lost to Tyrone in Omagh by three points. In Round 2 they drew at home against Galway before losing by seven to Dublin at Croke Park in Round 3. In Round 4 came their only win, a thumping twelve-point success at home against Monaghan.

Our six-point win over them in Castlebar came in Round 5. An odd one that was – I’m not one for conspiracy theories at the best of times but it looked for all the world like they stopped trying in the second half of that game. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t – it’s so hard to know what teams are up to in the League nowadays, especially in the concluding rounds.

The final two rounds this year brought two more defeats for the Rossies. Kerry had six points to spare over them at Hyde Park in Round 6 and then in the final round Derry walloped them by thirteen points at Celtic Park.

The Rossies finished in seventh spot on three points and so, along with Monaghan below them on two, were demoted to Division Two for next year. They ran up a total of 92 points over the seven games they played (we scored 115) and conceded 115 (compared to 108 for us).

If we are to win on Sunday, however, then it will mean a first win over either Roscommon or Galway in a non-fatal Connacht Championship clash (so discounting the straight knockout campaigns of the two Covid seasons, when we beat both of them) since 2015.

With our backs to the wall in 2020 and again in 2021 we claimed provincial honours but, aside from those two seasons, every year since completing the Connacht five-in-a-row in 2015 we’ve lost to one or other of them, failing every time to reach the Connacht final, never mind win it.

That’s a shocking run of underperformance on our part, all the more so given the largely modest quality of the opposition. While we can argue that provincial defeat didn’t hold us back in either 2016 or 2017, it certainly has since then and, if it wasn’t for the two Nestor Cup victories we gained in the foreshortened Covid Championships, we’d now be looking at our worst provincial run since the bad old days of the Seventies.

But we’re favoured to advance on Sunday and we have a great record against them at Sunday’s venue. But, as noted above, it’ll involve a bit of rolling back the years, back to the heydays of Horanball, in fact, if we’re to win it.

Will we do it? A week out, let’s end by testing the temperature on that very question.

Will we beat the Rossies?

  • Yes (70%, 692 Votes)
  • No (30%, 299 Votes)

Total Voters: 991

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42 thoughts on “Roscommon game coming into focus

  1. This is Roscommons all ireland. Write them off at your peril. This is a very tricky assignment and rossies will not fear mayo one bit. Hard to know where we stand and to be perfectly honest it is still early days to be hitting peak form. However, to be dumped from Connacht by Roscommon in consecutive years is unacceptable and for that reason I think we’ll scrape through.

  2. First the bad news: Hurson is reffing. He is appalling – if Galway got any close to us in that league opener, we would have been done for. Management really need to do some homework on him.

  3. Don’t understand why some are fearing roscommon. Yes they knocked us out last year and will be a totally different team from the league but we are still way ahead of the rossies.

    They have been really poor this year.

    They knocked us out last year after we had a tough league final v Galway the week before. We looked absolutely flat out.

    If Rossies bring a park the bus attitude which I think they will I still think we will win.

    There’s no way the guys will want rossies to knock us out 2 years in a row.

    Mayo by 4 or 5.

  4. They are Ros, they are Ros, they are not confused.
    Always liked that “We are Ros” chant, believe it was a group of young teenagers at some game in the 70s started it.
    The old war maxum. “Know what your enemy wants you to do and don’t do that”.
    The one that will really irk me is if we hand Roscommon lots of turnovers and moments on Aidan O’Shea. Aidan will not be reffed fair.
    Aidan should play this game as a 6.5 between the centre back and midfield. Up front Roscommon will be allowed foul Aidan out of the game with lots of yahooing from the crowd.
    Mgmt must know this already.

  5. Anyone know what’s the craic with tickets at the moment, ticketmaster have it up that not on sale yet, anyone know if supervalu or centra is selling them already

  6. You’re correct JP and everyone knows what’s coming from the ref regarding Aido.
    Until such time as when referees can be asked to explain certain decisions the same nonsense of no foul because he’s big and strong will continue.

  7. Rossies will have done their homework on us and will try to exploit our weaknesses. We can expect pressure on our kickouts and also our ability to win high ball in the middle of the field.
    However we are a far better balanced side than Roscommon and I can only see a comfortable win for Mayo. The Hyde will suit us, and I think we will let it rip…

  8. If we win on Sunday and Galway beat Sligo on Saturday, where will the Connaught Final be played? We played them in Salthill last year but that was not Connaught Championship so does the home/away arrangement apply this year?

  9. Let’s hope we do. Win Connaught and a semi final appearance, would be a successful season to me, we had some record of semi final appearances, that has gone out the window a bit since the Tyrone final

    Under no illusion, we’re a long way off the top 3, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t be staking our claim to 4th position. but if we did somehow make a semi, I’d be hoping for Kerry, because apart from the Clifford magic, I’d give us a decent chance.

  10. agree 100% Brian, a semi final would be a good result for us.

    As for Sunday, we need to hammer the hammer. last year we didn’t, Enda Smith ran riot. On Sunday, I’d be hoping we lock him down first & then target their other big players. There is no doubt that Roscommon have a very good set of forwards, so we need to dominate the middle 3rd to starve them of ball.

  11. Its only a matter of time until Reape gets lobbed in a big game……..hope its not on Sunday…….but it will happen

  12. @Bring them on

    The game in Salthill last year was decided by the All Ireland schedule and not the Connacht rotation.
    So a Connacht Final between us will be in Salthill, with Galway looking for their first home win of the season.

  13. Remember with the sweeper keeper that you are forced to play it by the fact that the opposition are playing it.
    If Roscommon play a sweeper keeper (they will) and we don’t, then our outfield 14 face a one man disadvantage in a lot of play. It makes it very hard to pressure them and win the ball back.

  14. Ye . Totally agree with Adio, been not treated fairly by all refs. He is a big man , but is entitled to get his frees when fouled. But I’m afraid this has not happened or it appears that it will not happen. It’s a joke. Then if Adio lays a hand on anyone he is yellowed carded. Also agree about Colm going to be lobbed. He is not the tallest of keepers around. So I definitely think he needs to stay back closer to his goal line. It is definitely going to Happen, and will cost us. Beggan got caught last week for Monaghan. Also Kildare keeper was so lucky yesterday. Goal keeper needs to stay back closer to goal. But in all fairness to Colm he is been told to do this by Management.

  15. Have to say, I don’t get the hate for Sean Hurson. By and large, he’s an excellent referee. Does he make mistakes? Of course he does but he won’t be the reason between us winning or losing. Our management team will have to realise what’s acceptable to him and have the players well prepped in that regard.

    Also, there seems to be an agenda against Reape in goal. He’s the best keeper we have, beyond any doubt. Talk about him getting lobbed is totally missing the picture. He swept and denied at least two goal scoring opportunities against NY. That he has to sweep is more telling on the back line than anything else. If McBrien is stationed at 3, this won’t be so necessary for him to do.
    Think we’ll win this one by four points anyway.

  16. Concentrate on Roscommon first.
    We still haven’t a settled team.
    Call me old fashioned but I hate to see the goalie going past the 21 yard line.
    Remember when the corner backs took the kick outs.
    Who was the first intercounty goalie to take the kickouts, I remember Furlong from Offaly but was he the first?
    Ridiculous the amount of time wasted con goalies coming to take frees.
    I think in 2011 Cillian was stopped twice for taking too long to take frees against Roscommon while Claxton took all the time he wanted to win the final.
    As someone else said we should study and play the Ref rather than giving out about him.

  17. @Tommy+Joe

    I completely agree. imo hurson is one of the best referees out there.

    I think what leads to confusion is that he has a quite generous interpretation of the advantage rule. Which on tv with replays is fine but for those in the stadium it often appears as if he is giving a free for nothing, when in reality he’s blowing up for something earlier in the move.

    He is generally though very consistent in applying this though.

    I’m not going to touch the dragging and pulling of Aidan though. That’s unlikely to stop until someone (likely Gough) polices it properly and we win a game 0-35 to 0-00 all from frees.

  18. One game at a time. Beat the Rossies and we are in a final with Galway. Both teams we can beat. Get to an AI semifinal and play our best game. We can’t have this defeatist attitude that we would be happy to come fourth. If you do you will get what you wished for. One game at a time. Hope management have faith in themselves and the team. Don’t lose the faith. Keep in sight what it will be like to lift Sam to the green and red of Mayo. Tears will be spilt. The prize lads …….. We know it will be hard but so what.

  19. On the Reape sweeping, yes he will at some stage be lobbed.

    But yesterday’s example in the Kildare game is pertinent. That attempted lob ended up costing Wicklow the game.

    Teams aren’t yet being punished properly by the opposition. I’d have attempted lobs having something close to a one in three conversion rate at present.

  20. Reape has been doing the sweeper role since early last year and we haven’t been caught yet. Derry have been caught out multiple times over the last few years yet are persisting with it.

    The rewards obviously outweigh the risks in the eyes of management teams.

  21. I would echo that Hurson is a good ref. It’s up to our lads to know how he refs a game, just like it works in rugby.
    Gough always pulls for the off the ball fouls – simple thing to do is not stupidly foul off the ball.
    Hurson will have a style but one thing he seems to be consistent on is he doesn’t let forwards buy a free or the tackler’s arm being “pulled into the tackle”. He is a stickler for that. Don’t do it then.

  22. I also agree regards keepers should stay in goal I am always on edge when he goes far up but in fairness nearly every goalie is doing that now sadly. I don’t like it but as others have said reape is being told to do it by management.

    And also Hurson isn’t a bad ref at all.

    Wonder will many go to this I’d say there will be a fair crowd the crowd for dubs/meath was around 21000 or so don’t know why they don’t have some of their games in parnell then not even a half full Croker.. be a much atmosphesere for it though leinster is a pathetic championship atm to say the least.

  23. @Jr: It’s probably as settled a team selection as any in the country at this point, once our injuries have been taken into account.

    FrostTHammer picked his starting 15 the other day and I’d imagine 99% of us would agree with it. Small chance for Hession/Coen to come in for any of Coyne/Brick/McHugh or DO’C/Tuohy/Carr/Cillian/Towey to edge in if they’re blasting in training but they’d all be more surprising than the mentioned team starting.

    Glancing at their minutes in the league:
    Reape: 71%
    Coyne: 90%
    Brick: 100%
    Callinan: 91%
    Durcan: 39% (injury)
    McBrien: 48% (injury)
    MacLaughlin: 48% (injury)
    McHugh: 55%
    Ruane: 42% (injury)
    Carney: 85%
    Boland: 86%
    Flynn: 84%
    O’Shea: 73%
    Conroy: 80%
    O’Donoghue: 90%

    It’ll most likely be a majority of the same team that started against New York, with Tuohy & Coen making way for Flynn & McHugh that missed that game.

    The only one there that wasn’t selected for a clear majority of minutes (though he still made a small majority) for non-injury related reasons is Donnacha McHugh. A chance he’d get pipped here by Stephen Coen or Enda Hession but given his pretty ideal physical matchup for Enda Smith I’d tend to give him the nod as favourite for the spot & allow us to keep Paddy and David in freer roles to do other jobs.

    (Unless you’re specifically referring to David playing in a settled full-back role when he is on the field. Then sure. Fingers crossed we see him stationed a little closer to our square)

  24. I’d be more worried about how we set up than Sean Hurson. If we continue to play large portions of the game man to man in the FB line, we will get burnt again. Murtagh and O’Carroll are lethal if given space, never mind Enda Smith galloping through. The common denonimator when losing to Ros recently in championship is conceding 2 goals. I fear the same will happen on Sunday. We are in now way cohesive as a defensive unit, NY showed us that. Fully expecting a Roscommon win again, it’ll more than likely be a damp day that suits them. They’ll force us into high percentage long range shots or turn us over. As stated above, our naieve attenpt at a defensive plan will cough up 2 goals again. A frustrating day awaits.

  25. Clare, Parnell park holds only 5 thousand as far as I know, and there’s planning in for a 25 thousand seater in the old spawell golf course off the M50 near templeogue but ferocious objections due to traffic etc. Can’t see how Croker can pay its way with so few at that game yesterday. Portlaoise or Tullamore would be ideal. Anyway if Sean Kavanagh has his way the Dubs will be playing in Connacht soon!

  26. @Mark Dempsey ah Ok I don’t know why I thought parnell held more then 5,000!

    You’d nearly feel bad for meath yesterday dubs weren’t even in 2nd gear.

  27. I would that the reference to an unsettled team is the constant switching of positions and numerous different midfield pairings and half back and half forward combinations.critical positions should be all nailed down at this stage.that’s basically what the league is for

  28. I’d agree that the personnel likely to be selected on Sunday seems pretty clear, injuries notwithstanding. I hope we avoid last year’s Loftus situation with Brickenden. A bit too easy to see him having a tough day versus Comer or the likes and then management bowing to a public outcry to drop him, resulting in wider changes mid-season. It doesn’t seem to have done much for Conor either, unfortunately.

  29. @ Clare, yeah possibly feel a bit sorry but like McStay, O’Rourke has been scouring the county and it’ll take time. Not sure the Meath men would feel sorry if the rossies pulled off a surprise this weekend. Maybe I’m being childish saying that but I remember that battle many yrs ago, my first year living in Dublin… anyway staying positive- we’ll see how the cookie crumbles.

  30. Bit of a bummer that season ticket doesn’t give you the option of buying a covered stand ticket for Sunday. Only terrace (€20), and uncovered (€25) available.

    You can go onto ticketmaster independently and buy good covered stand tickets for (€30), but with the new T+C’s you must buy 6 championship game tickets through your season ticket account to qualify for your All Ireland ticket .

  31. Corick are you starting to wobble on us? You were predicting a 10 point victory a few short days ago

  32. Corick I like your confidence but if the winning margin continues to drop by 2 points per day, we will get beaten on Sunday

  33. to win just once………… if we got the game brought forward to Saturday though it would be a draw and we might win on penalties. Look its worth a shot

  34. Can’t see why anyone would be whinging about Sean Hurson, he is one of the better refs in the country, it seems like some on here insist on slamming the ref as a pre-enptive strike every game, no matter who it is. As there is some nationwide refereeing conspiracy against Mayo. Pure nonsense.

    If we lose Sunday it won’t be because of Hurson

  35. If we are in top few counties in Ireland then surely we should be doing a Dublin v Meath on Roscommon. Control the game early and put it to bed 3rd quarter. We need to have this level of self belief and composure/ stamina if we are moving forward under McStay. Mayo by 10+

  36. I remember the reaction of the mayo players after winning by a point in 2014 with a much better team than we have now .The big question is have we improved in any way from last year.i think we will win but I would expect Roscommon to put a serious battle in their home ground

  37. @Justoutsideballagh

    Dublin are All Ireland defending champions and favourites to retain the title v Meath who are closer to falling to Div 3 than getting up to Div 1 anytime soon. Handicap betting was Dublin by 14 and they won by 17.

    Mayo have made their exit All Ireland Quarter final stage the last two years with heavy defeats, remains to be seen if a improvement on that will happen (IMO will first need to win Connacht) rossies played in Div 1 the last two years and will likely bounce back to Div 1 next year. Their stage of exit from the championship the last two years was by 1 point in real fine margin contests.

    To win by 10+ would likely depend more about Roscommon on the day and they weren’t switched on for the encounter this spring in MacHale Park but championship can be different. Betting thinks so with handicap saying Mayo by 2 points.

  38. @ to win just once, still laughing at that one. I’m going to agree with Corick and say a decent win for Mayo and the first time we will properly show our hand. I expect we will be ready after lasts years fumble and hopefully score a couple of goals at least. Mayo by 6. Conroy to be man of the match

  39. I’d imagine that last year was quite disappointing for Roscommon.

    As much as we like to think that all they care about is beating us, the reality is that they haven’t had any real problems doing that recently, and despite their early season promise, they once again lost out to teams their league ranking suggests they should be beating.

    Yeah they might be being beaten by a point but Cork are Div 2 and Clare and Kildare will play Div 3 next year. We might be getting well beat in QFs but at least we’re getting spanked by the best.

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