Last February in Killarney seems like a long time ago now. An energetic and attacking Roscommon team sliced through Kerry in their own back yard on the way to a historic win. The visitors played with fizz and finesse and left The Kingdom that day as heroes.
Fast forward 13 months and Roscommon sit rooted at the foot of the Division One table as former managers and selectors line up and take aim. This wasn’t in the script when the Rossies embarked on the great Division One adventure last year and it has been difficult to take.
The problem is one of managing expectation and if those dissenting voices pay closer attention to Kevin McStay then life will become a little easier and a little less disappointing.
Say what you want about players leaving the panel and the lack of points Roscommon have accumulated in Division One this term, McStay has being intimating since January that this was going to be a tough league campaign and a steep learning curve.
The last 13 months have provided Roscommon football with a harsh reality check and last Saturday was a continuation of that process. The likes of Mayo and Donegal and even Tyrone have been performing at the top table for years and it shows, even when they’re not at their best or ‘in transition’. Kerry are another one of those top table giants and Roscommon may even face another tough lesson this Sunday.
However, while the Roscommon players must learn harsh lessons on the pitch, those looking on would do well to learn from the mistakes of the past. Changing managers and backroom teams hits the reset button but doesn’t generate new players or guarantee the return of old ones that have left. Neither does it expedite the learning process every team must go through at the top level of Gaelic football.
It’s always darkest before the dawn and perhaps this relatively young Roscommon team just have to grit their teeth and take notes, while they learn these harsh lessons. One thing’s for sure, whatever happens this Sunday, another row or more controversy is certainly not what Roscommon football needs and negative vibes emanating from the terraces or elsewhere won’t improve anyone.