9th March 2023
A BREAK AND A CHANCE TO ASSESS
The fact that there is a break from the National Football League action this week will give us all a chance to catch our breath and look ahead to the remaining two fixtures.
Looking at what Roscommon have left I am in the ‘glass half-full’ department and I have to say I am looking forward to the two games coming up.
A lot of people are of the opinion that the trip to Kerry will result in a defeat but I am not so sure about that. Roscommon have started many of their games very slowly and have relied on coming late to either win or to get within a shout of a win.
If Davy Burke’s side can make a reasonable start in Tralee they will have every chance and I am convinced about that. Against Mayo, Roscommon did not deserve to win but despite playing so poorly especially in the first half, they only went down by two points and had a late chance to actually win it.
I was in Hyde Park early on Sunday and watched the Tyrone v Kerry game in it’s entirety and Kerry are certainly not unbeatable. Tyrone marked David Clifford tightly and worked ever so hard around the field and deserved their win. Having watched that I have no doubt if Roscommon work hard and produce a 70 minute performance they can make life very uncomfortable for Kerry. I am expecting Roscommon to give Kerry loads of it next weekend. If Roscommon play their best 15 available they have every chance.
I would also be very confident that Roscommon will be able to beat Donegal in their final game in Dr Hyde Park. Donegal are struggling especially up front and if they lose their second last game which is against Mayo they could already be relegated by the time they come to Dr Hyde Park.
Elsewhere Mayo are going well and they certainly have responded to Kevin McStay and his new management team. They have strength in depth and they called a number of very strong players from the bench against Roscommon last Sunday. They are pleying well but they will be concerned that they were not able to close out a comfortable win against Roscommon when they were in such a strong position last Sunday.
Galway have also improved and without Shane Walsh, Robert Finnerty and Damian Comer they have recorded a couple of very good wins in recent weeks. When they have their full side out they will be formidable.
Elsewhere around the country Derry continue to impress and they are playing some great football again this year. They are an improved team from last year and they will definitely be in the All Ireland conversation later in the year.
Dublin are hard to figure out. They looked very good in the first half against Derry but they faded badly after the break. They are certainly not the machine that we became used to under Jim Gavin. They remain a threat but they have come back to the pack. They look a tired enough outfit.
Other teams that have been impressive have been Armagh and Tyrone who seem to have got their ‘mojo’ back.
I At this stage I think that the race for Sam Maguire this year is one of the most open in many many years.
With two rounds of the league to go my top 10 rankings would be:
With Cheltenham coming up this week there will be almost more tips than runners and although I am not a huge racing fan I always love the excitement of the festival in the Cotswolds.
There are two horses with local connections in with a shout so here goes: Fastorslow on Tuesday (2.50) and Ashroe Diamond on Thursday (4.50)