New York scare: Fergal’s frustration over display – and ‘distractions’

The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl may have made ‘The Faiytale of New York’ famous – but for Roscommon senior footballers last Sunday, it was very nearly a case of ‘The Nightmare of New York’ as the overwhelming favourites came perilously close to becoming the first team ever to lose a Connacht Championship game to New York.

  On a cold, wet, miserable day at Gaelic Park, New York, Roscommon footballers came within a whisker of being the victims of the biggest shock in the history of the All-Ireland SFC when they emerged victorious by just a single point after a thrilling, intense and sometimes chaotic Connacht Championship game.

  Joint Roscommon manager Fergal O’Donnell vented deep frustration with the performance of the players, while also accepting that the management team needs to analyse their own role in the near-debacle.

  O’Donnell wasn’t mincing his words as he bluntly declared that the Roscommon players hadn’t worn the county jersey with pride on the day.

  “It was a very disappointing display. Someone just said to me that it looks the same as last year (the performance in the championship) and unless we crack on we are facing an early exit again.

  “We were very, very poor today and we as a management team will have to take a look at ourselves after that too…but I don’t always say this, but a lot of our players did not do what they were meant to do out there today. Silly turnovers were happening all the time, and lads not playing in the position that they were told (to)…we are so lucky that we are not the first team to lose here.

  “I won’t knock New York and I want to praise them on a great performance, but I am more interested in our display. We made five goal chances and took none of them – and their ‘keeper played well – but we have to take those chances. Then we gave up at least two goal chances at the end there and it is so disappointing.

  “It should be easy enough to raise the level of performance after that out there today and if that’s the standard that lads are happy with then it is just not good enough.

  “We heard a lot this week about being proud to wear a Roscommon jersey but we didn’t wear that jersey with pride out there today. I remember in 2011 there were complaints that we did not attend a lot of the functions and different things that were going on but I have to say there were a lot of distractions this weekend. I’m not blaming anyone at all and I know that they are fundraisers, but it’s easy to get caught up in the hype.

  “We are very lucky to have got away with that today and it is very disappointing for all the people who came out here this weekend. We are happy to be still in the championship but that display out there today will not be good enough to beat Leitrim.”