| 12.8°C Dublin

U-21 mismatches set alarm bells ringing

Close

Full forward Diarmuid Murtagh played a key role for Roscommon in their  victory over Sligo in the Connacht semi-final

Full forward Diarmuid Murtagh played a key role for Roscommon in their victory over Sligo in the Connacht semi-final

SPORTSFILE

Full forward Diarmuid Murtagh played a key role for Roscommon in their victory over Sligo in the Connacht semi-final

Hopefully, it's a one-off, a rogue interlude rather than the start of a trend.

The EirGrid U-21 football championships usually hit highly competitive buttons as the campaign progresses, but even if that happens again this year, it cannot disguise the reality of several one-sided provincial games.

Leinster's nine games so far have been won by an average of nine points, with six decided by margins of between eight and 17 points. Five game were won by more than 10 points.

It's not a good sign, given the genuine concerns over unequal standards at senior level.

Two of Connacht's four U-21 games were won by 11 and 24 points; two of Ulster's four ties had 10 and 11-point margins, while two of Munster's four had eight and 14-point differentials. That's a lot of one-sided action.

Roscommon's 24-point win (6-18 to 0-12) over Sligo in the Connacht semi-final was the most lopsided of all in what was a blow-out for full-forward trio Diarmuid Murtagh (2-5), Enda Smith (3-1) and Paul Kenny (1-2) scored 6-8 between them.

That performance has helped make Roscommon, who play Galway in the Connacht final on Saturday week, second favourites (3/1) behind defending champions Dublin (7/4) to win the All-Ireland title.

Irish Independent