Roscommon U21 boss Nigel Dineen believes Dublin’s loss is the Rossies’ gain as Fingallians’ Donal Keane faces his native county on Sunday.
Keane, whose parents are from Ballinlough in Roscommon, and studies in DCU, is expected to line out at left-half forward in Tullamore.
Dineen revealed Roscommon were told a few years ago a Dublin born and bred player with family connections to the county was available to them.
However, he is uncertain about the reasons why the current Leinster champions overlooked Keane.
“I don’t know what way it happened but he wasn’t involved with Dublin and he was available to Roscommon and he wanted to play,” says Keane.
“He would have been going to Ballinlough as a youngster for summers and that sort of stuff.”
Amazingly, Keane is one of 15 Roscommon U21s currently studying in DCU and Dineen is thankful Dublin didn’t take him.
“We are delighted with him. He played against Cavan (in the All-Ireland semi-final) and we’re very happy with him.”
Keane was eligible but didn’t play the last time Roscommon faced Dublin at this level — the 2010 All-Ireland semi-final.
Roscommon captain Paddy Brogan believes the onus is on Dublin to justify their heavy favourites tag. “It’s good in a way because all of the pressure is on them. We are just out to do our job. The main thing is for us to work hard and get a performance on Sunday.”
He added: “All the talk is about Dublin so we are happy enough with that.”
Brogan credits Roscommon games manager Willie Hegarty with driving a lot of the underage success. He believes through him and others, Roscommon players have got over their inferiority complex, especially with neighbouring counties in Connacht, like Mayo.
“There was always that thing in the back of the mind ‘you are playing Mayo, bigger team’.
“But the underage football in Roscommon has come along so we never really fear them anymore.”
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