Roscrea’s Munster pedigree counts for a lot
By Shane Brophy
The record of Tipperary club teams outside the county isn’t as good as we would like it to be, but Roscrea’s tradition has ensured they were always going to give their post county championship campaign a right good go.
The priority since the start of the year was to bounce straight back to senior level following their relegation last year and that was achieved with victory over Gortnahoe/Glengoole in the county final last month.
However, with the reformatting of the O Riain Cup at the start of the year to the premier intermediate championship, it opened the door for Roscrea to compete for Munster & All Ireland Intermediate titles, something manager Liam England didn’t shy away from.
“To be totally fair and up front about it, we probably were,” he said about targeting success outside the county.
“We did identify, along with a number of Tipperary teams, with the changing of the qualification that year, that if you get over the county, which was the main obstacle and the number one objective, there would be potentially a good journey beyond that because of the rebranding of the Tipp championship where the seventeenth best team is going into Munster.”
There is also tradition involved as well as this Sunday will be Roscrea’s fifth Munster club final, with the previous four having come at senior level, winning in 1969 & 1970, the latter going onto win the first ever All-Ireland club title, before losing in finals in 1972 and 1980.
“We have all grown up with the stories of Roscrea and the 1971 team and the achievement they had,” England added.
“For my generation and maybe the generation before we remember that but for the younger guys they wouldn’t be as fresh for these guys, so it is an inspiration more than a burden.”
Roscrea seem to be coming into their best form as the year progresses and they hope they have another in them to get the better of Monaleen on Sunday.
“We have been kind of up and down for much of the year,” added the Roscrea manager.
“We started off well in the league and put some good performances together. We got a lot of injuries during the North Championship and the early stages of the county to key players such as Alan Tynan, Conor Sheedy, Evan Fitzpatrick but once we got them back and got into the flow of things and started to put good performances together.
“I still think there is a lot more in this team. If you look at our stats, we are getting around 40-45 scoring chances a game but hitting sixteen or seventeen wides on average. If we can get that right on any given day, we might get near that perfect performance but certainly a better performance than what we have showed.”
A notable strength of Roscrea’s in recent games is their post-half time performances in which they dominated Gortnahoe/Glengoole, Ballysaggart and Inniscarra to create match-winning leads, although they have had some hairy moments in the closing stages.
“No game is going to be won in the first half,” England added.
“You are going to going in at half time with the game two or three points either way and that has been the way it has been. To be fair to the guys they have come out and really nailed the second halves.
“It’s a combination of a lot of things. If you look at any game of hurling, it is very hard to put a team away from the get-go. It takes a while to gel and the opposition are full of energy in the first half and it takes time to wear a team down.
“Our first half performances have been decent, but he have found another gear in the third and fourth quarters which has helped us.”