Cunningham shows his hand for Connacht championship opener

Story by Kieran Galvin

Friday, 10th May, 2019 9:26am

Cunningham shows his hand for Connacht championship opener

The Roscommon team.

The three Daly brothers of Padraig Pearses have all been selected on the Roscommon team for Sunday’s Connacht SFC quarter-final against Leitrim at Dr Hyde Park.

Niall and Ronan Daly fill the wing-back positions, with Conor named at left corner-back, in what will be Anthony Cunningham’s first championship match in charge of the Roscommon footballers.

Another Pearses man, David Murray is also part of the Roscommon defence, while the team is captained by Cathal Cregg.

Kerry native Conor Cox will make his championship debut at full-forward. Clann na nGael’s Ultan Harney and Diarmuid Murtagh are also selected in an exciting inside forward line.

Meanwhile, there are four championship debutants in the Leitrim team for the trip to the Hyde (throw-in 3.30pm). 

The four newcomers are Fergal McTague, Conor Reynolds (in defence), Pearse Dolan and Evan Sweeney (in attack). 

Veteran attacker Emlyn Mulligan is a notable absentee from Leitrim’s starting line-up.

This will be the fourth year in a row for Roscommon to meet Leitrim in the Connacht championship, with the Rossies winning all three of the previous games comfortably. The margin of victory was 14 points last year, with 17 points between the teams in 2017.

Roscommon are aiming for their ninth successive championship win over Leitrim, whose last victory over their neighbours came back in 2000.

Leitrim also have a new manager in charge for this year’s championship in the shape of former Cavan boss Terry Hyland.

Hyland’s side secured promotion from Division 4 of the Allianz Football League earlier this year, which was a significant boost for the county. However, a Roscommon team which operated in Division 1 this year (even though they were relegated) will enter the game as strong favourites.

The winners will advance to a semi-final meeting with Division 1 league champions Mayo, who proved too strong for New York last weekend. 

Roscommon (Connacht SFC v Leitrim): Darren O’Malley; David Murray, Sean Mullooly, Conor Daly; Niall Daly, Conor Hussey, Ronan Daly; Tadgh O’Rourke, Shane Killoran; Hubert Darcy, Cathal Cregg, Niall Kilroy; Ultan Harney, Conor Cox, Diarmuid Murtagh

Leitrim: Cathal McCrann; Micheál McWeeney, Fergal McTague, Conor Reynolds; Raymond Mulvey, Paddy Maguire, Sean McWeeney; Mark Plunkett, Sean Moran; Domhnaill Flynn, Pearce Dolan, Shane Quinn; Evan Sweeney, Ryan O’Rourke, Jack Heslin.

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