| 15.2°C Dublin

Luck of draw gives Rebels a chance to uncork form


(Croke Park, Sunday, 4.0, Live RTÉ 2)

JUST when it looked as though Roscommon's All-Ireland minor-winning team of four years ago were destined to spend their senior careers slumped in the footballing backwaters of the lower divisions, they go and win a Connacht title.

Granted, it was an easier provincial crown than one earned with defeats of Galway or Mayo but in a season when the two traditional Western powers were so limp, perhaps beating Sligo was more of an achievement anyway.

Big days such as tomorrow in Croke Park should bring a few of Fergal O'Donnell's colts on that bit more as footballers too but they'll be keen to avoid the sort of hiding Cork are capable of dishing out.

Having been almost caught by Limerick last week, the room for error for Conor Counihan's men is fading fast.


They're not playing as well as they were last year, though perhaps Croke Park will bring the best out of them. In fairness, it always has done, except when they've been playing Kerry, and Cork will see this as a chance to sharpen their daggers before a probable All-Ireland semi-final with Tyrone.

Michael Shields is built for the job of handling Donie Shine but the Cork half-back needs to be wary of deep, quick runners -- something they had a problem handling against Limerick.

Strange, too, that so many questions are being asked about Cork's forward line. On paper, it could be sensational but they have failed to fire as a unit thus far this season.

Paul Kerrigan, Pearse O'Neill and Paddy Kelly should form the ideal half-forward line but it hasn't worked like that so far and the ball-winning capabilities of Colm O'Neill, Ciarán Sheehan and Daniel Goulding haven't yet resulted in a massive bounty of scores from play from that unit.

In all likelihood, these are just kinks that Counihan is trying to iron out and there's no question, they got the luckiest of draws.

Another All-Ireland semi-final awaits.

Cork: A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, J O'Sullivan; N O'Leary, G Canty, P Kissane; D Kavanagh, A Walsh; P Kerrigan, P O'Neill, P Kelly; D Goulding, C Sheehan, C O'Neill.

Roscommon: G Claffey; S McDermott, P Domican, S Ormsby; S Purcell, C Dineen, D Casey; M Finneran, K Mannion; D Keenan, D O'Gara, C Cregg; J Rogers, D Shine, G Heneghan.

ODDS: Cork 1/10, Draw 7/1, Roscommon 11/1