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Big scalps should certainly see Sligo past Rossies

CONNACHT SFC FINAL

SLIGO v ROSCOMMON

(Castlebar, Tomorrow 4.0, live TV3)

WELL, now there's a first ... and we're not talking about a first Sligo/Roscommon provincial final since 1947 either. Rather, we refer to those surreal match odds below -- surreal when you consider that the Yeats men are chasing only a fourth Connacht title.

When you consider the form lines, however, Sligo's red-hot favouritism is entirely justified.

They have already beaten Mayo and (after a replay) Galway. Ergo, a failure to close the deal now would constitute a cock-up of epic proportions and we can't imagine that Kevin Walsh will allow his players to slip into complacent party mode before the Nestor Cup is safely ensconced back in Markievicz Park.

Moreover, because of the taxing schedule above, Sligo are seriously battle-hardened whereas Roscommon have only faced a brace of Division Four outfits -- London and Leitrim.

Based on these two matches, Fergal O'Donnell can't be sure whether his team is remotely good enough for this step-up.

The rest of us will strongly suspect that they aren't.

These sides met in the final round of the league last April: Sligo won by 0-20 to 0-13 to seal promotion to Division Two while Roscommon dropped through the relegation trap door into Division Four.

Since then, starting with their eye-catching league final win over Antrim, Sligo have got progressively better as a team while the individual form of Charlie Harrison, Johnny Davey, Mark Breheny and David Kelly -- to name just four -- has been terrific.

Unless the Rossies, liberated by their outsider status, throw the shackles off and Donie Shine shoots the lights out, it's hard to look beyond the men in black.

ODDS: Sligo 1/4, Draw 9/1, Roscommon 4/1

VERDICT: Sligo

SLIGO: P Greene; C Harrison (captain), N McGuire, R Donovan; K Cawley, B Phillips, J Davey; T Taylor, S Gilmartin; A Costello, M Breheny, E O'Hara; C McGee, A Marren, D Kelly.

ROSCOMMON: G Claffey; S McDermott, P Domican (captain), S Ormsby; S Purcell, C Dineen, D Casey; M Finneran, K Mannion; D Keenan, P Garvey, C Cregg; J Rogers, D Shine, G Heneghan.


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