LONDON v ROSCOMMON
(Ruislip, Tomorrow, 3.0)
THE last time Roscommon travelled to Ruislip, they were blessed to avoid mortifying defeat against the Exiles, who created two second-half goal chances only to be denied by Shane Curran, then the crossbar, on their way to a one-point loss.
Given this sobering experience, we'll hazard a guess that Fergal O'Donnell will have spent much of the past week warning his troops against the perils of complacency.
Not that Ros' have a whole lot to be complacent about. They will spend next spring in the basement division, following a depressing Division Three campaign comprising six defeats, a solitary victory (away to Louth) and relegation.
Tomorrow they have the good fortune of facing a London side who fared even worse -- losing all their outings bar the inevitable Kilkenny turkey-shoot in Division Four. On this evidence, it would seem, the Exiles have yet to experience any positive side-effects to the recession and emigration from our impoverished green isle.
Notwithstanding Roscommon's recent dismal run, O'Donnell maintains there is a "positive vibe" among the players and you could argue this was not the case in 2005 -- a season of turmoil that saw Tom Carr's spring resignation followed by Val Daly's August departure in response to a poor training turnout for the Tommy Murphy Cup.
This weekend they are boosted by the return of Karol Mannion at midfield and Ger Heneghan in attack. There are also SFC debuts for Stephen Ormsby at corner-back, Cathal Dineen at centre-back and Paul Garvey on the '40'.
LONDON: E Byrne; D Conlon, E O Cuiv, B Comer; J Niblock, C Beirne, N Tuohy; P Geraghty, S McVeigh; B Smyth, D Hayden, C McAllion; K Phair, D Horan, E O'Neill.
ROSCOMMON: G Claffey; S McDermott, P Domican, S Ormsby; S Purcell, C Dineen, M O'Carroll; M Finneran, K Mannion; D Keenan, P Garvey, C Cregg; J Rogers, D Shine, G Heneghan.
ODDS: London 15/2, Draw 14/1, Roscommon 1/14