‘Lesser-known’ U-21s ‘outstanding’

Roscommon U-21 manager Mark Dowd was delighted with how well what he called “lesser-known” players performed in Friday’s impressive victory over Galway (see match report on page 52; preview of Roscommon v Sligo on page 45).

   “From the start of the year the preparation was not what we would have liked it to be, but having said that, the lads who were fit put in a huge effort over the last few weeks. We stuck to our game plan and it worked out great on the day and we are happy with that.”

  Referring to Galway’s late surge, Dowd said:  “We took our foot off the gas too early there at the end and we let them back into it. Any time you play the likes of Galway in a championship game it is never over until the final whistle and it is something that we have to work on.

  “Our lads are training since last November and some of the lesser-known players were outstanding tonight. I’m so delighted for them. They have worked hard and it paid off. There are plenty of places on the team still up for grabs and we have more training to do before the Sligo game, which is great, but tonight’s win is no good if we are beaten next weekend.

  “Sligo will be a tough game for us. We had a big win against them last year but they are coming in under the radar and at home they will fancy themselves against us. We will probably be favourites now and it (the speculation) will be all about a three-in-a-row and that sort of thing, which is amazing really. There wasn’t a word about us last week and we were written off for this match tonight by nearly everyone.”

  Galway manager Gerry Fahy expressed surprise at the referee’s decision to send off Michael Daly.

  “We didn’t play well in the first half and then we had the sending off of Michael Daly and I couldn’t see what that was for. He was an awful loss to us and that put us under serious pressure.

  “We got the goal after half-time to bring us back into it, but after that Joseph Donnellen was black-carded and we finished with 13 men. But it was our poor display in the first half that cost us really.

  “In fairness we had over 80 players at trials for this team. There was huge interest and (therefore) it is very disappointing to lose out here tonight.

  “I am proud to have been associated with them and they have shown great dignity all week with regard to Tomas (Mannion, a team selector whose brother died tragically last week). It’s a pity it did not work out for them tonight.”