Saturday 21 July 2018

McStay's grounds for optimism as Rossies seek glory at the Hyde

 

Caretaker Peter Murray takes a break from the final preparations of Dr Hyde Park yesterday ahead of tomorrow’s Connacht SFC final between Roscommon and Galway. Photo: Tony Gavin
Caretaker Peter Murray takes a break from the final preparations of Dr Hyde Park yesterday ahead of tomorrow’s Connacht SFC final between Roscommon and Galway. Photo: Tony Gavin

Martin Breheny and Michael Verney

Kevin McStay's defiant stance over the venue for tomorrow's Connacht football final has sent confidence levels soaring in Roscommon as they bid to secure their first provincial two in a row since 1990-'91.

There was a strong possibility that the clash with Galway would be taken away from Dr Hyde Park over health and safety issues but McStay effectively implied that Roscommon would boycott the game if they didn't get home venue as part of the rota arrangement.

Behind-the-scenes diplomacy and works carried out to bring the ground up to the required standard for the west's sell-out showpiece enabled the Connacht Council to declare 'the Hyde' fit for purpose, subject to certain conditions.

Now, McStay will be hoping that home advantage will help Roscommon to repeat last year's Connacht final win over Galway in Pearse Stadium.

They are 5/2 outsiders, however, against a Galway side beaten just once this year - the league final against Dublin - while the Tribesmen also beat the Rossies in the 2016 Connacht final replay.

The winners will become the first county to secure a place in the new-look 'Super 8' series.

Meanwhile, Dublin footballer Paul Flynn is following in the footsteps of Dessie Farrell by taking over as GPA chief executive. He replaces Dermot Earley, who stood down in January, less than a year after replacing Farrell.

Flynn is currently commercial director with Lincoln Recruitment, the company that handled the search for Páraic Duffy's successor as GAA director-general earlier this year.

Read more: 10 Armagh U-20s banned for final

"Players will be at the heart of all GPA decision-making and the Association will remain unrelenting in its pursuit of members' interests," Flynn, who will take over in his new role in the autumn, said.

Elsewhere, Podge Collins has earned a recall to the Clare starting 15 for tomorrow's crunch Munster SHC clash with Limerick at Cusack Park, Ennis (2.0) following the massive impact he made off the bench against Tipperary last Sunday.

The former All-Star attacker hit three points following his introduction and replaces Cratloe clubmate Conor McGrath, while Séadna Morey is also rewarded by joint Banner managers Donal Moloney and Gerry O'Connor as he comes in for David Fitzgerald at wing-back.

The Treaty make no alterations with John Kiely keeping faith with the side which impressively put Waterford to the sword last Sunday, although Aaron Gillane returns from suspension to make the squad.

Limerick are currently on five points, with Cork and Clare each on four points and the winners of the Ennis sell-out will go straight through to the Munster SHC final.

A draw would be enough for the Treaty to clinch a place in the decider, irrespective of the Cork-Waterford result.

Eoin Cadogan comes into the Cork defence while Waterford legend Michael 'Brick' Walsh is set to surpass Tipp's Brendan Cummins and make his 74th championship appearance for the Déise, all of which have remarkably been made consecutively.

Irish Independent

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