Wednesday 21 August 2019

Roscommon boost as Smith declared fit for final tilt at Tribe

Roscommon manager Anthony Cunningham. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Roscommon manager Anthony Cunningham. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Seán McGoldrick

Roscommon football boss Anthony Cunningham says his team will have to do better in the midfield exchanges to have a chance of dethroning Connacht champions Galway in the first of the provincial finals on Sunday week in Salthill.

Even though his side ended a 33-year wait for a championship win over Mayo in Castlebar in last month's semi-final, Cunningham said huge improvement will be needed in the side's performance.

"You don't have to be a genius to figure out where the improvements have to be made. We took a lesson that night on kick-outs. Mayo are probably the best team in the country at closing you down," said Cunningham.

"They really bossed us, particularly in the first half on our kick-outs. We also wanted to create more scoring chances.

"But I suppose we were a small bit more efficient when we did get the chances (against Mayo). But there was nothing in it," he added.

Meanwhile, Cunningham - who is bidding to become the first manager to win provincial titles in different codes - confirmed that Enda Smith will be fit for selection.

Smith didn't start the Leitrim game, but came on as a substitute against Mayo and kicked a crucial second-half point. He was also involved in the move which culminated in Fintan Cregg scoring the winning point.

"He got a fracture on the base of his index finger (before the Leitrim game). He actually played a bit for a night or two and didn't realise that it was as bad," explained Cunningham.

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"The first MRI scan didn't pick up the fracture. The second MRI scan needed a dye. It showed up a small fracture. He lost out on a week or two (in training) as a result."

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