By Ian Cooney
Reigning champions Padraig Pearses and Boyle will cross paths in this year’s Roscommon Senior Football Championship after Monday evening’s draw for the group stages of this year’s championship at Dr. Hyde Park pitted both clubs together for a second successive year.
The two teams met in the group stages of the 2019 championship in Boyle, a match Pearses won before Pat Flanagan’s men repeated the trick in a bad-tempered county semi-final on their way to winning the club’s first Fahey Cup.
It will be a baptism of fire for last year’s intermediate champions Tulsk who are also in the same group, while 2017 intermediate champions Michael Glaveys complete Group C.
Western Gaels, under new manager Fergal O’Donnell, will come up against his native club, Roscommon Gaels, in Group B. Last year’s beaten finalists, under Liam McNeill, will be hoping to go one step further than 2017 and 2019 and will be warm favourites to emerge from a group that also includes Fuerty and St. Croan’s.
For Croan’s manager Eamon Towey, he will trying to plot the downfall of the team he led to intermediate championship glory in 2018, Fuerty.
Group A will see St. Brigid’s and Clann na nGael renew their rivalry. St. Brigid’s are in transition but will still present a serious test for new Clann manager Liam Kearns. Neighbours Elphin and Strokestown make up the remainder of the group.
Neighbours Castlerea St. Kevin’s and Éire Óg, with new kid on the block Conor Cox, will cross paths in the “Group of Death” of this year’s intermediate football championship. Last year’s beaten finalists Oran and Kilmore, under new manager Cian Smith, make up the group, which will resurrect memories of their epic county final meetings in 2016, a decider Kilmore won after a replay.
Favourites for this year’s championship, St. Faithleach’s, will be relatively happy with their group, and will be expected to emerge from their matches against Creggs, Kilbride and St. Aidan’s and reach the knockout stages.
Last year’s junior winners, Ballinameen, have a local derby against Shannon Gaels to look forward to, alongside games against St. Dominic’s and St. Barry’s in what looks like a very open group.
In the Roscommon Senior Hurling Championship, last year’s finalists Four Roads and Athleague have been kept apart in separate groups.
The first round of games in mid-July will see Padraig Pearses meet Oran and Four Roads commence the defence of their title against St. Dominic’s in Group A, while Tremane and Roscommon Gaels will meet in Group B.
In the Junior A Football Championship, favourites Kilglass Gaels will face second sides from Pearses, Elphin and Clann na nGael, while old North Roscommon rivals St. Michael’s and St. Ronan’s will meet each other once more.
St. Joseph’s are in a five-team group alongside Roscommon Gaels B, Western Gaels B, St. Dominic’s B and Castlerea St. Kevin’s B.
The senior hurling championship gets underway on July 18th and 19th, with the senior and intermediate football championships kicking off a week later.
SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Group A: Strokestown, St. Brigid’s, Elphin, Clann na nGael
Group B: Roscommon Gaels, St. Croan’s, Western Gaels, Fuerty
Group C: Padraig Pearses, Boyle, Michael Glaveys, Tulsk Lord Edwards
INTERMEDIATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Group A: Oran, Kilmore, Castlerea St. Kevin’s, Éire Óg
Group B: St. Faithleach’s, Creggs, Kilbride, St. Aidan’s
Group C: St. Dominic’s, Shannon Gaels, St. Barry’s, Ballinameen
SENIOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP
Group A: Padraig Pearses, Oran, Four Roads, St. Dominic’s
Group B: Tremane, Roscommon Gaels, Athleague
JUNIOR A FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Group A: Roscommon Gaels B, St. Joseph’s, Western Gaels B, St. Dominic’s B, Castlerea St. Kevin’s B
Group B: St. Brigid’s B, St. Ronan’s, Boyle B, St. Michael’s
Group C: Kilglass Gaels, Padraig Pearses B, Elphin B, Clann na nGael B