Is Roscommon's rise a sign of things to come for the championship?

Coach Liam McHale chats to Off The Ball about the blueprint as Roscommon shine in the league

BY Raf Diallo 20:49 Tuesday 8 March 2016, 20:49 8 Mar 2016

Roscommon's Senan Kilbride ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

After three wins on the trot, Roscommon have all but confirmed that they will be back in Allianz Football League Division 1 for 2017.

The most recent victory saw joint-managers Kevin McStay, Fergal O'Donnell and their team beat Down 1-12 to 0-6, adding to victories over Kerry and Cork in this campaign.

Former Mayo star Liam McHale, who is on the coaching panel, says the league will have a huge impact on their All-Ireland and provincial championship.

"Most management teams would be a little bit apprehensive taking over a team that's just got promoted but we were delighted because we felt that seven games in Division 1 stand to the team in the championship, and that we could have been competitive in Division 1 and maybe win enough games to stay up, that we really could have a cut at the Connacht championship," he told Off The Ball.

Roscommon joint managers Fergal O'Donnell and Kevin McStay ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

But he felt the opening game against Monaghan which ended in defeat was a "huge disappointment" and says they learned a lot about how physical the division is and how important it is to try and extend a lead rather than preserve it.

Stylistically, McHale says they want to "entertain the Roscommon fans" but also puts store in defensive organisation. 

"We're trying to play an expansive game, we're trying to move the ball, we're trying to make sure our spacing is good and put the opposing full-back line under as much pressure as we possibly can," he said.

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