Rebels will relish Rossies draw, admits Hoare

THE theme emanating from Cork after Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final has been predictably respectful but Roscommon selector Declan Hoare came out yesterday and echoed the sentiments of the gaelic football world.

“Let’s face it, it is the team everybody wanted against the team nobody wanted,” he said of the lottery that paired the surprise Connacht champions with the side commonly regarded as the booby prize for the four provincial kingpins.

Next Sunday will be Roscommon’s first championship outing at HQ since losing to Dublin by four points in a 2004 round four qualifier and their first of any description since beating Cavan there in a Division Two league semi-final three years ago. That was the same year Connacht claimed the Nestor Cup before being dumped out of the All-Ireland at the last eight stage by Cork and on the back of a hugely disappointing performance.

Hoare doesn’t need the history lesson.

“It is something we have discussed. It was the same in 2001 when we beat Galway and Mayo to win in Connacht and then we went to Castlebar for a quarter-final and the life was sucked out of us against Galway.

“Fergal (O’Donnell) has already mentioned it to the lads. That was his last game for Roscommon and he told them how disappointing it was for him to end his career with the county that way.”

Roscommon will wait until later in the week before deciding on the fitness of goalkeeper Geoffrey Claffey (knee) although David O’Gara’s back problem won’t be enough to prevent his input.

For their part, Cork are monitoring a shoulder injury suffered by John Miskella against Limerick but all their other injury concerns emerged unscathed from the 90 minutes in the Gaelic Grounds.

That included Donncha O’Connor (achilles), Paul Kerrigan (hamstring) and Nicholas Murphy (back) while Alan O’Connor should be in contention again this weekend after failing to start last Saturday’s game with a flu. It was a long shift for Cork before finally escaping the clutches of a committed Limerick side and selector Ger O’Sullivan was delighted to hear that they were handed a Sunday rather than a Saturday fixture yesterday.

Cork chairman Jerry O’Sullivan was equally pleased with the results of the Central Competition Control Committee’s deliberations, especially the fact that the county’s minors and seniors have been accommodated on the one day and in the same venue.

“We’ve had difficulties in this regard in the past,” said the official.

“In 2007 the minors were on their own in Croke Park which wasn’t helpful. The last two weekends have been difficult for our supporters with our senior teams playing in separate venues on different days. That’s a lot of cost and travel involved. At least now the minor footballers are on at noon and the senior footballers on at two, both in Croke Park. That’s great for our supporters and also great for our minor players that they get to play in a stadium like Croke Park.

And what of Roscommon? “On paper, people will say Roscommon are a favourable draw,” said Ger O’Sullivan, “but facing them carries its own pressures. They’re carrying very good championship form into this game, have a very good mix of youth and experience and the best free-taker in the country in Donie Shine.”

Meanwhile, injuries and suspensions look likely to pave the way for Aidan O’Mahony to make a dramatic return to the Kerry line-up just over three months after quitting the panel for personal reasons.

Tomas O Sé is suspended for Saturday’s meeting with Down while Padraig Reidy has been sidelined for a month with aknee problem and Daniel Bohane is also struggling with a hip injury.

With Micheal Quirke hampered by a calf injury Jack O’Connor may well go with a midfield consisting of Seamus Scanlon, whose own injury problems have eased, and David Moran.

Elsewhere, Tyrone’s hopes of defeating Dublin this weekend have been boosted by the news that both Stephen O’Neill and Enda McGinley are in contention to feature after recent injuries.

O’Neill missed the Ulster final win over Monaghan with a heel injury suffered in the previous game against Down while McGinley has yet to featurein the championship due to a combination of injuries.

However, Tommy McGuigan – who deputised for O’Neill the last day – is a major doubt. The Ardboe man has not trained since the Ulster final win over Monaghan due to a severe swelling on the knee.”

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