A chance to return to the business end of the All-Ireland Intermediate Championship alongside Jenny Higgins making her 100th appearance for the “Primrose and Blue” at adult level — Sunday has the potential to be a very significant occasion for the county’s flagship ladies’ football team.
Roscommon travel to Kinnegad to face Offaly for a 1 p.m. throw-in, and buoyed by last weekend’s victory against Wexford, destiny remains very much in Michael Finneran’s side’s hands. Avoid defeat against a team already beaten by the Slaneysiders, and a place in the semi-finals will be confirmed for the third year in succession.
“It’s essentially an All-Ireland quarter-final for us. We had been building towards the Wexford game for so long. We put pressure on ourselves to perform, and we did. Now we have to reach those heights again, which is a big ask, but the carrot dangling in front of the players is huge and I think that they’ll will be ready,” the former St. Dominic’s and Roscommon midfielder told the Roscommon Herald.
Roscommon introduced five debutants against Wexford — Elaine Murren, Niamh Watson, Ellen Irwin, Aoife Gavin and Sarah McVeigh. The manager was also delighted with the impact made off the bench.
“We brought on Kate Nolan, Louise Brady, Sarah McVeigh and Rachel Fitzmaurice, and they were our top players in the last ten minutes when the game was in the melting pot. That was the pleasing part,” he recognised.
Offaly will have individual players that will require containment, particularly teenage forward Kate Kenny, who was surprisingly left out of the starting team for their 3-10 to 1-8 defeat to Wexford, despite being the dominant player on the local club scene for a couple of seasons. The Faithful County are finished their camogie season now which should be a boost to three dual players, while Ellee McEvoy and Marie Byrne are combative and dangerous players down the spine of the attack.
However, Roscommon have momentum and will be keen to reward Jenny Higgins’ 100th appearance with a big performance that should procure the victory required.
Given that Higgins and Caroline Conway should have the measure of Offay at midfield, Roscommon’s stronger subs bench is also likely to be a deciding factor to set up an All-Ireland semi-final against Westmeath on November 29th.