Maughan: We’re ready for battle

Roscommon manager John Maughan is in his second year as the Roscommon team supremo. On his appointment he cracked the disciplinary whip and there hasn’t been one  negative disciplinary story involving the Roscommon panel in his time with the team.   On the field of play Roscommon have had notable successes including promotion to Division 2 of the League for next season. However the team have been inconsistent, an assessment which John Maughan would agree with.    ‘We were delighted to be promoted to Division Two but we made it hard for ourselves. I remember the Leitrim game here when we were cruising but it all unravelled after a couple of goals and it goes to show what can happen – but in fairness to the lads we went to Tullamore and scored a great win over Offaly. Subsequent to that we played ever so well against Cavan but we came unstuck against Meath but overall it’s been a good year so far’ he said.    The big Mayo man says that he is delighted with the strength of the squad now. Some of the better of last year’s minor team have been brought on to the senior panel and they could have big parts to play on Sunday.   ‘We have introduced younger players  and they have benefitted greatly from being involved with the squad. There were one or two journalists here in Roscommon that questioned us when we brought in some of last year’s minors and frankly I find that a bit of a joke.    ‘I watched a minor from last year coming on in Croke Park last weekend in front of 82,500 people and there wasn’t a word about it. It seems to be acceptable in all other counties, so why not in Roscommon?    ‘I have no doubt about the ability of the likes of David O’Gara, Conor Devanney or David Keenan. Tremendous players they are and they will play a part in this year’s championship, I have no doubt.’   John Maughan says that the training stint in Portugal was a fantastic experience.      ‘We did some great quality work there and we could get top class treatment for the four or five guys who were injured. The medical people did some great work. It was also a great oportunity for all the guys to get to know one another. Everyone is rushing to and from training when we’re here so it was a great chance for the lads to get to know one another properly’ he says.    The team manager also paid tribute to the dedication and discipline shown by the panel in Portugal. ‘We trained twice a day and it was tough going and I was immensely proud of every single player. When we were leaving the owner of the training facility came to me personally and told me that the Roscommon group were the best behaved and most dedicated team he had seen in his time at the facility (which caters for scores of sporting teams from different sports each year) which is a good news story about Roscommon football.’   John Maughan is also expecting a strong challenge from Sligo on Sunday. ‘We all remember those two great games in 2004. There is very little between these teams. I have been watching Sligo on DVD and I have been impressed with them. They have plenty of scoring power. They have beaten Derry and Wexford in recent challenge games so we have been well warned’ he said.    ‘This is Sligo’s All-Ireland and we are aware of that. All I can say is that our preparations have gone really well but you can’t legislate for what happens when the players cross the white line. If we get the breaks and a little luck we should win it.   ‘I’m glad the match is in Hyde Park and I know the Roscommon fans will give us great support and regardless of games going on elsewhere I hope they come out in their thousands and support us on Sunday and hopefully we will reward then with a good championship win. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s what all the hard work is about’ he concluded.