Cork and Roscommon playing for pride
ALL-IRELAND SFC QUARTER-FINAL GROUP TWO
Cork v Roscommon
(tomorrow, Páirc Uí Rinn, 4pm, live on RTÉ Player)
BOTH Cork and Roscommon tried their best to make sure that this clash at Páirc Uí Rinn would be a meaningful one, but in the end it has turned out to be the dreaded dead rubber.
Rossie hopes were pinned on their opener against Tyrone but despite a spirited effort they lost 0-17 to 0-13. Dublin in Croke Park was always going to be a thumping although an 18-point losing margin, a flattering one at that, would have been hard to stomach.
Ronan McCarthy's side were even closer to getting points on the board before this game. They gave Dublin their fill of it for three quarters before losing heavily but a six-point lead on Tyrone in round two put them in a real winnable position. That was surrendered either side of half-time though as they went to pieces and coughed up 2-4 with just one point coming in reply.
Former Antrim man James Loughrey replaced the injured Tomas Clancy after just 12 minutes in that game and went onto score in a spectacular goal. That has earned him a starting spot tomorrow with goalkeeper Michael Martin, Eoghan McSweeney and Paul Kerrigan also coming into the first 15.
It's probably less deserving that Roscommon's season will come to an end in such low-key surroundings. Anthony Cunningham's side defeated both Mayo and Galway on their way to the Connacht crown but the pitch invasion at Salthill in June will be in stark contrast to the muted response should they earn a win tomorrow.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this match will not be the result, but whether or not Roscommon's Conor Cox or Cork's Luke Connolly can provide the sort of special performance that may just keep them in the conversation for a shock Allstar. Connolly has hit 1-3 in both Super 8 games while Cox played very well against Dublin having been wrapped up by Tyrone's Ronan McNamee the week before.
Like the game itself, those ambitions should peter out in this pulse-slowing fixture.