Last Sunday was a tough day for all concerned with the Connacht final in Salthill. It was tough for the players, the team management and the spectators, all of whom had to contend with the disastrous weather, the chronic traffic, the weight of expectation, and the poor game that has received much criticism on the national stage.
Roscommon joint manager Kevin McStay says that last Sunday’s game is another step along the way in the learning curve that this team are on, and that the management as well as the players will learn much from their mistakes last weekend as they prepare for the replay.
“Look, there were mistakes made for sure and we as a management made mistakes too, but you have to remember that this is a very inexperienced group. The players are very young and as a management team we are learning too. Last Sunday was a really tough day and we made loads of mistakes on and off the field, but we are still standing and we showed great character and resilience to stay in the game and get the draw.
“We know that we misfired but we also know that there is plenty of room for improvement, which gives us great hope for next Sunday.
“We took a lot of flak since Sunday but I can say that no one planned for the game to turn out like it did and that’s the truth of the matter both from a players’ points of view and from a management point of view as well. In fact it was the same for both sides. We know it was a poor game but there were some reasons for that. The conditions were horrific and even as we held the ball at the end of the game in the final few seconds the lads said that the wind was just too strong to go for the winning point – and I trust them on that.
“This weekend is a totally different day and a different game now. I can tell you that there are no injuries to any players at all since last Sunday, which is great. The hardest thing that we are going to have to do this week is settle on a match day 26 for the replay and that’s even before we pick the starting team. I can guarantee you that every single player on the 26 who are chosen will be in contention for a starting place.
“This week is all about recovery and rest. We had a meeting on Monday night and we will meet again on Thursday night and that will be it for this week. This is a second Connacht final in the space of a week for our young players and that is massive. In fact when you look at the big picture we will have at least six major championship games this summer with the possibility of more, and that added to the eight league games will bring on these young players a ton. “I am totally convinced we will show a huge improvement on Sunday next. It was never going to be easy to go to Salthill and win. Now we have Galway away from their home pitch and the fact that the game is not on TV means that there will be a big crowd again. Roscommon fans travelled in huge numbers last Sunday and hopefully they will again this weekend.
“This is a totally new situation now and we know that there is huge improvement possible in our performance. If we can loosen up a bit in our play the way we know we can, we are well capable of winning this replay and I have faith in our young players to do that. We are learning all the time as a group and we can make that pay on Sunday in Castlebar,” he concluded.