Defiant McStay calls for more patience
Roscommon manager, Kevin McStay, was in defiant mood following his team’s 21-point defeat to All-Ireland champions Dublin at Croke Park last Saturday evening.
McStay defended his young team and called on the Roscommon GAA public to be patient. He also described those “taking pot shots” at the management team as “hilarious”.
Addressing the gap between Roscommon and the “big teams”, he said: “Dublin are right up there at the top and there is a big gap between them and the number two team. They are not worried about our troubles but people have to be patient with us. I know the patience is wearing thin at home. It’s a young team. They’re three, four, five years behind these big teams in terms of conditioning.”
McStay then called for more patience and vowed to stick with the current crop of players.
“People just have to be patient. They’re 22, 23 years of age. We’ll get a good season in Division Two. Please God, we’ll get out of that and get back to Division One and people just have to hold their nerve and stay with it.
“If they want to chop and change and get rid of half them young fellas and bring back what? It doesn’t work like that. I’ll make the point again, we had all those guys last year that everyone is harping on about and we got hammered by Galway, Clare, Mayo and Kerry. And all that experience and know-how and physicality that everybody is dreaming is somehow out there, that was all supposed to be there last year too, and it wasn’t.”
The Roscommon manager admitted that there was no quick fix: “We’ve moved on to a longer term plan. Three years. I’ve spoken to the board about it. That’s what I want to do. And it would be nice if people hold their nerve and stay with it. It is difficult. These experiences, they’re not simple ones, obviously.”
Keen to look to the future, McStay said the signs were positive.
“They are a great bunch of young guys; the training last Tuesday was fantastic but it has not been a good spring for the management or the players and we have been struggling to be competitive in three of our games but these are harsh lessons. But we will learn from them. In three years’ time, if this group stays together, they will be a decent team. And nobody can tell me otherwise.
“I’m watching them train three or four days a week. They’re very good but they’re under power. It’s like watching a very decent car with a very little engine in it. And that’s essentially our problem at the moment; our conditioning is way behind the top teams.”
McStay said that while training was going well, more work was needed ahead of the Connacht championship.
“I don’t know if lads are tightening up or what but we are missing a lot of goal chances. The hope is that we will improve on that but our defence is under huge pressure because the tackling is not going on out the field that’s predicated on the fact that this time last year we had twenty more sessions done. We train Tuesday and Friday at the moment and not on Saturdays. That will step up now when the league is over and we will get into championship mode.”
As well as calling for patience, McStay seemed to hit out at former Roscommon managers, who he claimed were “pot shotting”.
“I am asking people to be patient. This torrent of criticism and negativity is doing nothing for anybody. It is certainly not doing anything for the morale of the players and not for the management either. I don’t want everybody to be worshipping everything that the players and management are doing. Everyone is entitled to criticise but it should be reasonable criticism. This is a young team and people have to hold their nerve about what we are trying to do in Roscommon.
“People having pot shots from over the fence, people who had a go at this (team management) over the years and now they are coming back pot shotting. It’s just hilarious to be honest,” he concluded.