"When you’re playing against him, you’re thinking, 'I hope this lad doesn’t take off'." 1 month ago

"When you’re playing against him, you’re thinking, 'I hope this lad doesn’t take off'."

Don't poke the bear.

Don't poke Enda Smith.

For the first 35 minutes, played out in wretched conditions, the Connacht final at Pearse Stadium was playing out as many had predicted. Galway were accumulating scores and Roscommon were digging in; holding on.

Enda Smith and Conor Cox were raging against it but the situation looked bleak for the Rossies. 0-10 to 0-5 down at the break, Anthony Cunningham's charges needed to start the second half like men possessed.

In Smith, they had a man who's wheels were spinning when he landed back on the pitch. For the first 20 minutes of that half, Smith was untameable. Bursting onto balls and accelerating away from the scene. Hungry for the ball and make each possession count.

Enda Smith lifts the Connacht SFC trophy at Pearse Stadium, Galway. (Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile)

In the confines of the 'home' dressing room, Galway let their powder get wet and they never re-found their spark. With the found blowing their way, but little else, the Tribesmen managed two paltry scores after the break and lost 1-13 to 0-12.

Reflecting on that Connacht final victory, 24 hours on, former Tyrone captain Sean Cavanagh acclaims the performance of Cox and sings from the rooftops about Smith.

"Smith is one of the top players in the game," Cavanagh begins. "There’s no doubt in that.

"He’s one of them players, sometimes, I’d just love to shake him because whenever he does something he does it so well, he’s got that physicality, he can win a kick-out. Then he’ll take off like a bullet and put one into the net.

"Sometimes then he’ll drift off out of the game then, and you’ll be wondering what he’s doing. Then somebody pokes him and he’s off doing something similar again. Anytime he does something, it seems to have a huge effect on Roscommon, he seems to be a great lad. He has all the skills."

Cavanagh name-checks Smith and Cox with five other Roscommon players - Fintan and Cathal Cregg, and Ronan, Niall and Conor Daly - as lads that could easily fit into any of the top teams in the country.

"They have some really good players who just haven’t got the recognition," he explains, "because they haven’t been competing at the same level as the Mayos, the Galways and the Tyrones, but it’s good because these counties are getting the recognition they deserve now. They’re deserving of that bit of glory."

Returning to Smith and his influence on this Roscommon side, Cavanagh says:

"When you’re playing against him - you’re just thinking, I hope this lad doesn’t take off and go past me. He’s a bit like Shane Walsh in Galway, he definitely deserves a chance to shine in the Super 8s and Roscommon - they can be competitive this time around."

Roscommon faltered in last season's Super 8s but Cavanagh backs them to cause counties a sight more problems this time around.

"Anthony Cunningham seems to have found a midas touch," said the five-time All Star, "and they’re getting the most out of that group."

Former GAA star Sean Cavanagh of Tyrone was in Dublin today for the reveal and official launch of the Benetti Menswear GAA Ambassador campaign for 2019. Benetti are an Irish designed menswear clothing brand who supply a fully comprehensive collection in tailoring, casual menswear, footwear and accessories.