Wednesday 21 February 2018

Dublin hold no fears for Rossies – Dineen

Roscommon manager Nigel Dineen. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
Roscommon manager Nigel Dineen. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

EVERYONE else may be running scared of Dublin's apparently unstoppable football juggernaut but not the Roscommon U-21s, according to their manager Nigel Dineen.

"We have no fear of Dublin, we respect them obviously, but we don't see any reason why we can't beat them and that's what we'll be looking to do next weekend," he said ahead of meeting the cream of the Blues' underage talent in next Saturday's All-Ireland U-21 final.

Dublin's awesome retention of their Division 1 title has already set them up for a senior 'double-double' and added credence to the theory that their resources and power-play style has made them unbeatable.

But Dineen says that's not how his young guns see it.

"There wasn't much between us when we met them in the U-21 final two years ago, the only real difference that day was that they had a stronger bench," he stressed.


Dublin, with a team that included Jack McCaffrey, Ciaran Kilkenny, Davy Byrne and Ciaran Reddin, won that U-21 decider 2-12 to 0-11.

Roscommon only lost when they were hit by 1-5 in the last 12 minutes, the goal provided by Paul Mannion when he came off the bench.

Mannion is one of a handful of players from both sides now facing a mouthwatering re-match which has particular significance for the success-starved Rossies.

The county is on a high after their seniors surprised Cavan in the Division 3 final last Saturday to win their first league title in 35 years.

Roscommon supporters will travel in numbers to Saturday's U-21 decider in Tullamore (3.0), which will be refereed by Barry Cassidy.

John Evans' seniors won without the county's top U-21 talent like Diarmuid Murtagh, the Smith brothers (Enda and Donie) and Conor Daly who has recovered from the injury that saw him miss their semi-final victory over Cork. Dineen's backroom team includes two more former seniors in Ray Cox and Eddie Lohan.

"There may be excitement outside of the camp but the day after we beat Cork we resumed training immediately. It's been business as usual for us and that's how it will continue.

"Some of our players were playing two years ago so they know exactly what's ahead of them and we're firmly focused on the job in hand."

Irish Independent

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