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'We'll do whatever it takes to win' - Roscommon's Niall Daly talks tactics

The Roscommon defender on whether his team will be repeating the defensive tactics deployed against Mayo.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

NIALL DALY SAYS that Roscommon are happy to play defensively, although it’s unlikely that we’ll see a repeat of their Connacht semi-final tactics against Cavan this weekend.

For large spells of their one-point defeat to Mayo last month, Daly’s team had 14 men in their own half, looking to contain Mayo’s overlapping threat by crowding their back-line and holding on to possession.

Despite the criticism his team received during and after the game, Roscommon very nearly pulled off an unlikely victory against the All-Ireland runners-up.

Not pretty, but effective.

“Everyone put their shoulder to the wheel against Mayo,” explained the Roscommon and Connacht half-back. “We’d do anything to win, so the attitude before the game was simply: whatever’s needed to win, we’d do it.

“I think that system was probably just for the Mayo game. We’ll be looking at every team and seeing the best way to beat them.”

Roscommon led on the hour mark in Dr Hyde Park, 1-8 to 0-8, after Daly set up his fellow defender Ciaran Cafferkey for the game’s only goal but a late surge by Mayo was enough to break the Rossies’ hearts and dump them out of the Connacht Championship.

“It was hugely disappointing. It was a big game and we’d put so much into it and we really thought we had a great chance of winning.

“A few things obviously caught us out and inexperience was a big one of those, but what we learnt from that game could be huge moving forward.

“We’ve been looking at where we went wrong and hopefully we can build on that. We’ve now had two weeks back together and training has been going really well.”

Source: ForKingAndCountry2014/YouTube

The 22-year-old UCC graduate, and Sigerson Cup winner in 2011 when he was named as man of the match in the final, will be an integral player regardless of the way John Evans decides to set up his team for the trip to Cavan.

Daly scored two of his team’s 1-18 against Leitrim in the Connacht quarter-final, and actually broke into the team in 2012 playing as a half-forward.

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Niall Daly Niall playing for Connacht earlier this year. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“We’ve played Cavan twice already and won one and lost one so it’s weird, but we’ll analyse both games and see the best way to play.

Roscommon edged Cavan in this year’s Division 3 final, although Terry Hyland’s side won the earlier league encounter against a weakened Roscommon.

“It’ll be an interesting one. I wouldn’t buy into us having an edge after the league final. I think home advantage will be a big advantage as it’ll be tricky up there, so they’ll probably go in as favourites.

“It would have been difficult no matter where we went, but I suppose it’s a team we’ve already played this year and we’re familiar with, but they’re familiar with us too.

“We know they work it out well, they get a lot of men behind the ball and then they work it out from there. They have a few very strong forwards so we’ll have to look at minimising that, and I see too that they’ve pushed David Givney into the forwards so we’ll have to address that too – but loads of things have changed since the last time we met.”

Donie Shine leaves the field injured Donie Shine's year is over.

Roscommon go into this weekend’s game without star forward Donie Shine, who picked up a season-ending injury during the Mayo game. But according to Daly, who will take-up a full-time teaching position in Ashbourne next September, the squad have reacted positively to his absence.

“Donie is a huge loss but there’s no doubt that it’s someone else’s gain. It has certainly affected the panel – a few lads have seen a big opportunity and drove on. The competition is huge at the moment.”

Other Roscommon players said to be carrying injuries include David O’Gara and Darragh Donnelly, who is likely to miss out with a hamstring problem.

Overlooked for starting positions until now, one group of players hoping to take advantage of the vacant positions are the U21s within the panel. Darmuid Murtagh, who has returned to training after a nasty foot injury, and Niall’s younger brother Conor, are both pushing hard for starting berths.

Michael Concar and Conor Daly Brothers Niall, Conor and Ronan are all in the senior panel. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

After recovering from a hamstring complaint, Conor lined out in the half-forward line in recent challenge match victories over both Sligo and Galway.

“It’s definitely an opportunity for them lads. They have been knocking on the door for a while now but they’ll have to show their form.

“We have no big aim at the moment. We’re taking it game by game and it’s just Cavan we’re concentrating on at the moment. We’ll get over them first.”

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