Expect in-form Sligo to deliver title

SLIGO should win the Connacht title tomorrow. When these sides met in NFL Division Three a few months ago, Kevin Walsh’s men won in a canter (0-20 to 0-13). That result reflected their respective movements and mood in the spring – one up, one down. Sligo will be in Division Two in 2001 and Roscommon will be in Division Four.

Based on their championship form against Mayo and Galway, the Yeats County men look well capable of returning another winning docket tomorrow. Walsh brings Tony Taylor back into midfield for Eugene Mullen and Colm McGee replaces Stephen Coen, which gives him genuine options off the bench in the last quarter if required.

Full-forward Donie Shine is Roscommon’s top scorer with 1-7 against Leitrim and nine points against London, so Sligo will need to avoid unnecessary fouling. Shine is deadly from placed balls.

He alongside Ger Heneghan are Roscommon’s main scoring threats. Stop them and Sligo win. Fergal O’Donnell has stuck with the same side that defeated Leitrim with Enda Kenny and Fintan Cregg coming back from injury.

The crucial battle will be between Roscommon duo Karol Mannion and Michael Finneran against Taylor and Stephen Gilmartin at midfield and the breaks from their collisions. Sligo have the forwards in Kelly, Breheny, McGee and Costello to do damage if they get sufficient possession and they are well capable of hitting the scores which would secure the JJ Nestor Cup. Charlie Harrison and Ross Donovan are two terrific corner backs and they have been inspirational for the Yeats men all season. I expect them, along with young Keelan Cawley and Johnny Davey, to have the ability to tie down the Roscommon forwards and the latter two will drive on to support their attack. All year the Sligo camp have striven to become a “serious” team and tomorrow gives them the ideal opportunity to add more silverware and substance to that aspiration.

I expect them to take it.

- Verdict: Sligo


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