Dublin v Roscommon, Saturday, 7 pm, Croke Park
This is a big game for Roscommon as a loss will all but end their championship for 2019. The game is live on Sky Sports and the action gets underway at 7 pm.
Dublin have brushed aside teams as they have done in the last 4 or 5 years with relative ease. They sauntered through Leinster with wins over Louth, Kildare and Meath. They were tested against Cork for 55 minutes or so but ultimately they upped the gears and put Cork to the sword in the final 15 of that game. Again, I expect a similar performance from Dublin here where they will up the gears in the second half and pull away from Roscommon. Jim Gavin will be delighted as he also had said Diarmuid Connolly is back training with Dublin, whether this will merit a place in the match day panel this weekend is uncertain. I would suggest not given the performances of the Dublin forwards to date. Dublin will look to players like Michael Fitzsimons, Philly McMahon and Cian O’Sullivan in defence. Jack McCaffrey put in a massive performance against Cork and he will surely have another big game here too. Brian Fenton will line up in midfield. In attack, I imagine Dean Rock will start instead of Cormac Costello, with Con O’Callaghan, Ciaran Kilkenny and Niall Scully all set to play a massive part in the game too.
Anthony Cunningham’s side were a bit unlucky against Tyrone in a way. They just needed a goal or two and the game would have been different. The face a difficult task here though. The last time these sides met was in the Super 8’s last year when Dublin won 4-24 to 2-16. In defence, Niall Daly, Ronan Daly and Conor Daly will all need to have big games, while Tadgh O’Rourke and Shane Killoran in midfield will also need to be at their best. Conor Cox was relatively quite against Tyrone so more will need to come from him, while Diarmuid Murtagh and Enda Smith will also have to big games if the Rossies are to have any chance of coming away from Jones’ Road with a win.
Previous Championship Meetings
2018 Dublin 4-24 Roscommon 2-16 (Super 8’s)
2004 Dublin 1-14 Roscommon 0-13 (All-Ireland qualifiers)
1979 Dublin 0-14 Roscommon 1-10 (All-Ireland semi-final)
1912 Dublin 2-04 Roscommon 1-01 (All-Ireland semi-final)
1893 Dublin 1-09 Roscommon 1-01 (All-Ireland semi-final)
Jim Gavin speaking to Newstalk’s Off The Ball said “Most of our training is game-based, we practice relentlessly the skills of the game. We’re looking forward to the Roscommon game, we had a really tough game with them in [Dr] Hyde Park, they were very impressive. They’re a very skilful team, very athletic, very strong, it’s going to be a tough game.”
Anthony Cunningham: “We’re preparing for next weekend. It’s a must-win game for us in Croke Park – no better place to go. We’ll be looking to sharpen up on our performance and giving it one hell of a go.”
Dublin (v Roscommon): Stephen Cluxton; David Byrne, Michael Fitzsimons, Philip McMahon; Jack McCaffrey, Cian O’Sullivan, John Small; Brian Fenton, Michael Darragh Macauley; Niall Scully, Cormac Costello, Brian Howard; Ciarán Kilkenny, Paul Mannion, Con O’Callaghan.
Roscommon: Darren O’Malley; David Murray, Sean Mullooly, Conor Daly; Ronan Daly, Conor Hussey, Niall Daly; Tadgh O’Rourke, Shane Killoran; Brian Stack, Cathal Cregg, Niall Kilroy; Diarmuid Murtagh, Conor Cox, Enda Smith
Dublin are favourites at 1/80, while Roscommon are 20/1. If you fancy a draw it is 40/1. Dublin to win by 13-15 points at 4/1 appeals to be me. Con O’Callaghan to get the first goal at 5/1 also looks a good bet.