Fresh faces in for Roscommon ahead of Connacht semi-final

Roscommon manager Kevin McStay has named three championship debutants in his team for Sunday’s Connacht semi-final against Leitrim at Dr Hyde Park, throw-in 3.30pm.

Goalkeeper Colm Lavin, Tadhg O’Rourke, and Brian Stack have all been included in the Roscommon starting XV.

Despite suffering relegation from Division One of the Allianz Football League, Roscommon are hopeful about making a summer impact. A win this weekend would guide Roscommon into a provincial decider and the last 12 of the All Ireland series.

Brendan Guckian’s young Leitrim outfit were given a serious test by London at McGovern Park, Ruislip at the end of last month. Ronan Kennedy’s introduction as a second-half substitute swung that game in Leitrim’s favour.

Kennedy struck 2-2 in the closing stages for Leitrim, who are without talisman Emlyn Mulligan for the rest of the campaign. Mulligan suffered a serious cruciate ligament knee injury before the championship, but Guckian’s panel still includes talented footballers.

Captain Donal Wrynn, Shane Moran, Dean McGovern, and Wayne McKeon are all solid performers, so Roscommon will be completely aware that a tricky match awaits.

There is a nice blend of youth and experience in the Roscommon team, with Seanie McDermott remaining a key figure in defence. Niall McInerney, Conor Devaney, Enda Smith, Ciarain Murtagh, Diarmuid Murtagh, and Donie Smith were all involved in successful Roscommon underage teams during the past decade.

Delivering at senior level in the west is Roscommon’s objective and this weekend’s encounter provides an ideal opportunity for McStay’s charges.

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