Its a terrible old world out there...
The early 1940s were a time of strife and war and hardship. Europe was at war. 1943 and 44 were particularly bloody. As Patrick Kavanagh might have put it, those were the years of the Stalingrad bother. I hardly need to tell you what happened in the All-Ireland championships in 1943 and 44. The Irish papers said damn all about the war in those days, so the day after the All-Ireland, the whole paper was probably given over to celebrating Jimmy Murray and the boys' triumph.
This is where Roscommon come into their own. Whenever there is turmoil and economic strife in the world, Roscommon are usually doing well. The late 70s saw economic chaos, the Iranian revolution, American weakness, the arrivals of Margaret Thatcher and Charlie Haughey to power. Roscommon were flying. 1990-91 we had the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Gulf War. 2001 saw the World Trade Centre hit the ground. Meanwhile in 2010, Ireland lost its 'economic sovereignty.' In these years, silverware always ended up in Roscommon.
By contrast during periods of relative serenity, the mid 90s and the mid 2000s for example, Roscommon are usually poor. With the Ukraine-Russia stand-off, the kidnapping of schoolgirls out in Nigeria, not to mention that unspeakable attack on Jay Z in a lift, things are looking promising for the Rossies this year.
2014 marks the year the GAA really set about going global what with the whole Sky thing and the potentially even more significant GAAGo streaming service.
In this brave new world, celebrity support from people who have made it 'big' abroad will prove crucial. This gives Roscommon a head start.
Boyle and Hollywood's own Chris O'Dowd tells people in every second sentence that he comes from Roscommon. This means 'Roscommon Hospice' and 'Ballymore Properties' jerseys will become common on the Hollywood Boulevard, fashionable people in London and LA will be saying 'we' when referring to Roscommon's progress in the championship. This will lead to a whole lot more revenue for the county board. Meanwhile, the confidence this will generate will power them through this year's championship.
No soccer here
Roscommon has long punched above its weight in Gaelic football terms. Whereas their bigger neighbours Sligo have mustered three Connacht titles in their entire history, Roscommon have regularly picked up the Nestor Cup, usually poaching at least one a decade from under the noses of the province's big two.
The county has an excellent underage record, with the minors giving Seamus Duke the greatest day of his life in 2006, and the U21's reached two All-Ireland finals in the past three years. Their clubs (well, one club) have dominated Connacht in recent years.
Roscommon have pulled this off partly by giving their undivided attention to one sport. While Sligo has been hindered the presence of a successful League of Ireland team in the county, Roscommon doesn't have any of this distraction. The place is so rural that for half the county, Longford is its nearest big(ish) town.