Collins: Rossies can match heavy hitters
ACCEPTED wisdom asserts that the All-Ireland champions will come from Division 1 of the Allianz League but Roscommon can, according to defender Neil Collins (inset), compete amongst football's biggest hitters next spring.
"I said we can compete at that level, but that's if we put in a lot of work between now and then. That's if we go there with real belief," reckons Collins, central to their second successive promotion this spring.
"We obviously understand that it's a far higher level and the teams there have been consistently there.
"We have a lot of work to do to compete there."
Because given that five teams had at least semi plausible chances of promotion heading towards the last round of Division 2 matches and that each, at different stages, had endured periods of spring during which they looked anything but a topflight side, the scurry to finish in those top two spots occasionally resembled a slow bicycle race.
"Every team wants to progress and to get to a higher standard from where they have been. So it was our ambition to get promoted and go to Division 1," Collins asserted.
"As you go through the league you're not thinking, 'we really want to get promoted'. You're looking at each game and saying, 'we need to perform in each game'.
"And then I guess it comes to a stage at the end of the league that if you have performed in those games then you say, 'look we're in a position to get promoted'.
"Definitely it was an ambition to get promoted but we did take it each game at a time to see where we were come the last two or three games."
Down - the Rossies opponents in Sunday's Division 2 final in Croke Park - are, according to Collins, "the strongest team in Division 2".
"It'll be two teams who are trying to make a breakthrough," the former DCU student added, "and Sunday would be a good day to keep it going."