Saturday 3 December 2016

Rossies becoming 10th Ulster county

Published 08/07/2015 | 02:30

Roscommon's Ultan Harney in action against Cavan's Jason McLoughlin
Roscommon's Ultan Harney in action against Cavan's Jason McLoughlin

What is it about Roscommon and their attraction to Ulster opposition?

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Remarkably, all seven of their football qualifier games over five seasons have been against Ulster opposition.

And the sequence will extend to eight when they play Fermanagh in Enniskillen next Sunday.

It started in 2011 when Roscommon lost to Tyrone in Round 4 in Croke Park.

A year later, Roscommon beat Armagh and lost to Tyrone. Mickey Harte's boys beat them again in 2013. Last year, Roscommon beat Cavan and lost to Armagh.

Cavan again awaited Roscommon in Round 2 last Saturday and while the Breffni men scored 1-11 more than last year, they still lost by seven points.

Roscommon's link-up with Ulster still wasn't completed as Monday's draw paired them with Fermanagh in what will be the first ever senior Championship clash between the counties.

Incidentally, the qualifiers have fought back against the theory that League rankings hold solid in the Championship, with results going according to divisional standings.

Of the nine games involving pairings from different divisions, three have been won by the lower-ranked county.

The deepest bite by the underdog came when Wexford, who were relegated to Division 4 in April, beat Down, who were promoted to Division 1.

Not that the gods rewarded Wexford for their brave stand, handing them a trip to Owenbeg to take on Derry next Saturday.

Antrim, who finished third in Division 4, beat Laois, who were sixth in Division 2.

Longford, who won promotion to Division 3, beat Clare, who finished fifth in the latter group.

All of which suggests that there is little enough between several counties.

Irish Independent

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