ROSCOMMON manager Kevin McStay is determined not to concede home advantage in the upcoming Connacht senior football final.
The Rossies are bidding for a two-in-a-row and will take on either Galway or Sligo in the final on Sunday, June 17. They earned their place in the final after they overcame Leitrim in Carrick-on-Shannon last Saturday on a scoreline of 0-24 to 0-10 (see this week's Westmeath Independent for full coverage).
If Galway defeat Sligo in the semi-final this Sunday, it will set up a decider between the Tribesmen and the Rossies for the third successive year. A Galway versus Roscommon final will give Roscommon a home venue (if Sligo defeat Galway, the final will be played at a neutral venue).
However a twist has emerged after the Connacht Council indicated that the game could be switched from Hyde Park tom Elverys MacHale Park in Castlebar in the event of a Galway versus Roscommon final. MacHale Park's capacity is 38,000, compared to the Hyde's 25,000.
But McStay is adamant that the game will go ahead on home turf on June 17, as Roscommon bid to retain the title for the first time since 1991. He was quoted this week as saying that the game will go ahead in Roscommon – if Galway are the opponents.
“We have the home venue. It will be played in the Hyde, I've no doubt,” he said.
“I'm the manager of the Roscommon senior football team and my responsibility is to the 34 players to give us the best chance of retaining our title. My sense is that that's at home. A home venue is a big advantage.”
He added: “We'll certainly be turning up in the Hyde. I hope someone else is there to meet us on the day and we'd be very, very absolute about that.”
Roscommon are now preparing to contest their third Connacht final in a row. They comprehensively defeated Galway by 2-15 to 0-12 last year, while the Tribesmen won the 2016 final, in a replay, by 3-16 to 0-14.
McStay was happy with the semi-final win on Saturday, but said his side will have to improve if they are to retain the title.
“I can say the exact same thing that I said this time last year. We have an ocean of work to do. This is the game of our lives to see if we can do a two in a row and retain our title,” he said.