21 March 2013 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Ahead of the teams’ NFL clash this weekend, Roscommon team manager
John Evans is wont to talk up Monaghan. by KEVIN CARNEY

Roscommon manager John Evans is keeping his fingers crossed that he’ll have some of his bigger guns available for selection for this Sunday’s NFL Division Three clash with hosts Roscommon at Dr. Hyde Park (2.30pm).
Roscommon under 21s will be in action on Saturday next in the Connacht championship and the likes of Donie Smith, Conor Devaney and Colin Compton (all forwards) who impressed in their county’s NFL victory over Antrim last weekend will be in action just 24 hours prior to the scheduled clash with Monaghan.
Evans will wait to see whether the aforementioned trio come through their test on Saturday, injury-free before finalising his side to face Monaghan.
In addition, he expressed the view (at the time of going to press) that the availability of the county players who won All-Ireland club SFC medals last weekend with St. Brigids is still up on the air.
“It’s the perfect storm,” Evans lamented,”with question marks over the availability of the under 21s and the St. Brigids’ contingent.
“We don’t yet know what the story is with the St. Brigid’s lads because they’re still in celebratory mode. It was a fine win for them and a great boost to the county as a whole.
“Confidence breeds confidence and the win on St. Patrick’s Day can only have a beneficial effect on Roscommon football.
“You’d like to think that the rest of the lads who aren’t St. Brigids’ clubmen will grow in confidence too, playing alongside all-Ireland medal winners.”
Despite the absence of the aforementioned Saints, Roscommon were too good (0-11 to 1-6) for hosts Antrim in last weekend’s NFL fixture at Casement Park.
The win over the Saffrons should ease Roscommon’s relegation fears but, in the immediate aftermath of the game, Evans highlighted the lack of experience in his squad:
“We’ve a young team and they’re going to make mistakes. But I’ve persisted with them and I suppose the management have put their neck on the line with them because so many of our experienced players are not with us.”
Roscommon current sit on five points after their five games, just three adrift of table-toppers Monaghan so a win this weekend – however unlikely – would put the Rossies right in the mix for promotion rather than mired in a relegation dog-fight.
Evans himself won’t hear tell of a late surge for promotion and insists on talking up Monaghan and reminding all and sundry of the aforementioned under 21/St. Brigid’s twin complications, not to mind injuries in the camp which have robbed him of the services of the likes of seasoned campaigners Donie Shine, Cathal Shine and Seanie Purcell.
“It would be ludicrous to talk of us having a look-in as regards promotion,” the Rossies’ boss insists.
“We’ve only drew with Wicklow and beat Sligo and Antrim so I don’t know how anyone could say that we’re going to beat Monaghan never mind be in line for a crack at promotion.”
After a poor FBD campaign – which saw them only score five points in a 0-6 to 0-5 defeat to Leitrim – Roscommon continued to be beset at the start of the year with college football commitments for their players and injuries.
All told, the westerners had approximately a dozen players unavailable for those reasons, not including the St. Brigid’s …

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