Roscommon’s minor footballers are just one hour of football away from booking a place in this year’s All-Ireland minor final. Tyrone lie between them and a place in this year’s decider where Mayo await the winners.
While predicting minor games comes with a health warning Roscommon’s favourites tag is well justified given their form to date. Not alone did they outplay Mayo for long periods in the Connacht final but they have since gone on to take the scalp of a hotly fancied Kildare side.
Tyrone will provide a different challenge and will not crumble like the Lilywhites did. A dramatic comeback by Monaghan saw them edge out Tyrone in the Ulster final but Tyrone showed their grit with an extra-time win over Kerry in their quarter-final.
Fergal O Donnell and his backroom team have left no stone unturned this year in an effort to get the best out of this undoubtedly talented group of players. Six of the Roscommon panel - Ronan Daly (capt ), Martin Flannery, Eoin Fallon, Senan Farrell, Nigel Kelly, and Conor Mulry were part of Athlone Community College senior team last year and through my involvement with tha -t team I got to see just how professional O’Donnell is. He (or one of his selectors ) never missed any of our games whether it was a challenge in Blacklion in north Cavan over Christmas or championship in Cellbridge or Mullingar. He even organised transport home from our Debs for the players to make sure they will be ready to rock on Sunday. He has invested a lot of time and effort but I expect him to be rewarded come Sunday evening.
Once again Roscommon will be looking for big performances from their big players. The likes of captain Ronan Daly, Ultan Harney, Cathal Compton, and Diarmuid Murtagh have led by example to date and will need to do so again.
Provided they concentrate on the job in hand and don’t have one eye on Mayo in the decider then I expect O’Donnell’s men to be celebrating another great victory come Sunday evening.