Monday 22 January 2018

Purcell enjoying his return to Rossies' highflying roller-coaster

Roscommon's Sean Purcell (SPORTSFILE)
Roscommon's Sean Purcell (SPORTSFILE)

Sean Purcell had no hesitation in answering the call when Roscommon's new management gave him the chance to resurrect his inter-county career after two seasons out of the scene.

Now 30, the Boyle clubman decided to take a season out when he got married two years ago to travel the world, but when he returned home last year the call never came from manager John Evans to rejoin the squad.

As a result, Purcell was merely a spectator as Roscommon sauntered to their second promotion in a row, returning to the top flight for the first time in 13 years.

But Boyle never gave up hope and his excellent form for his club Boyle didn't go unnoticed and when Fergal O'Donnell - who he previously played under for the Rossie - came back onto the scene with Kevin McStay, the call wasn't long going out. By then, Purcell had gone into the pub and bookmakers business in Carrick-on-Shannon but had no hesitation in making the commitment.

"There was excitement," he explained. "There was a good buzz when Kevin and Fergal were instated. I worked with Fergal before and you just know what Fergal is going to bring and what Kevin and Liam (McHale) had done with Brigid's, you knew it was going to be something exciting and you wanted to be a part of it so I was delighted to get the call."

The away wins in Kerry and Donegal have given real momentum to their season and for this encounter they go in as favourites to beat a Mayo side who have dominated Connacht for the past five years. But despite it being a local derby, Purcell insists they are not drawing motivation from the longstanding rivalry - maintaining their winning run is the primary goal.

"All the players really want to play in Division One for next year. It wouldn't be a motivation factor what people on the outside think of us, but on the inside there's motivation that we want to stay up and we want to be playing these games next year as well in Division One. Everyone's enjoying it and I can see from our football, it's showing that lads are enjoying it."

A league semi-final is now within their grasp. Having had to travel to Longford to play their last 'home' match against Down, after playing their opening tie against Monaghan at their secondary ground in Kiltoom, Purcell said they are thrilled to be back in Dr Hyde Park for Sunday's showdown.

"We're all delighted to be there now, that's where Roscommon people want us. We'll have a good crowd - the Roscommon support has been fantastic on the road so far this year," he added.

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