Roscommon aiming for another fast start against Armagh

The Connnacht side will want to get on the front foot at Croke Park on Saturday

A high ball is contested between Tyrone and Roscommon
Roscommon's Robbie Dolan (4) in contention for breaking ball against Tyrone. Pic: Margaret McLaughlin

A MORE attacking approach from the outset has brought Roscommon victories over two Ulster teams, so another – Armagh – can expect something similar this weekend.

The Rossies had secured progress to the preliminary quarter-finals by beating Cavan and took their chance to reach the last eight in style by overcoming Tyrone in Healy Park on Saturday.

Now they’ve been drawn to face the Orchard County in the last eight and will be aiming to be on the front foot again.

Defender Robbie Dolan revealed that they’d been targeting brighter beginnings, in contrast a more cautious game-plan during the earlier stages of the season:

“The last two games we’ve put a big emphasis on starting quick and trying to get scores on the board.

“Throughout the year we kind of sat back, never pushed on and tried to get a few scores ahead of the other team. We were always behind. I think only one game in the League we were ahead in the first half.”

Roscommon celebrating their win over Tyrone in Omagh
Roscommon celebrate their first ever SFC win over Tyrone. Pic: Margaret McLaughlin

Up in Omagh, however, although Tyrone opened the scoring Roscommon then reeled off the next six points in a devastating 10-minute spell which set them up for a fully deserved 0-14 to 0-12 victory.

Another key element in Roscommon’s recent wins was the quality of their forwards – they notched 3-20 against Cavan and then scored 13 points from play against the Red Hands.

They only had four scorers in Omagh – Diarmuid Murtagh, Daire Cregg, Conor Cox and Donie Smith – but their excellence and efficiency was evident, as Dolan expected it would be:

“The lads are great. They always stay back 10 or 15 minutes after training practising shooting. We know if we can get the ball up to them they’ll do the job for us.”

Roscommon will be underdogs against Kieran McGeeney’s men, but they upset the odds to record their first ever senior championship success against the Red Hands, as Dolan pointed out:

“No one really gave us a chance, but we believed we could push on and drive on. We probably didn’t get it fully right throughout the year but we knew we were building for later on in the year and thankfully it happened for us…

“We believe we are up there with Galway and Mayo; a lot of people think different. No matter who we meet, Galway, Mayo, we always give them a good game. We’re working on our strength in depth, getting our impact subs on. The boys who came on kicked on, brought fresh legs and gave us that extra driving force to hold out.”