Finn and Spillane pledge to renew All-Ireland quest next season after final defeat
Roscommon camogie team will learn from Sunday’s defeat in the All-Ireland Final and bounce back next season determined to claim top honours.
That’s the view from the Roscommon camp this week as the management and players reflect on Sunday’s defeat to an accomplished Laois side.
Two goals in two minutes midway through the first half were the key scores as Laois overpowered a very game Roscommon side to land the All-Ireland Premier junior title in Croke Park.
Manager Noel Finn says “silly mistakes” cost Roscommon on this occasion but he believes his players will have learnt a lot from the experience and that they willl be back to try to complete the job next season.
“Those two first-half goals killed us really. We made a few silly mistakes that cost us. But look, they will learn. It is their first time playing in Croke Park and I am sure that a lot of our players are disappointed with their performance. Things just didn’t happen for them today but one thing I am sure of, they will be back.
“It is a learning process for a lot of the girls who are young. We have a few very experienced players too and I would hope that they will get another crack of the whip next year and get that elusive All-Ireland medal.”
The nine-point margin might suggest a very one-sided final but Roscommon battled all the way to the finish and save for a few costly defensive errors and a lack of strength in depth up front, the Rossies turned in an excellent display.
With the current management set-up only in place since June this Roscommon team has made huge strides and if they can keep this squad of players and management together they will be a much stronger side in 2016.
Noel Finn was proud of the Roscommon team on Sunday. “We came back great after half-time but I thought we gave away some silly scores today. We made mistakes today that we didn’t make against Dublin in the semi-final but full credit to the girls.”
Having tasted the big-match atmosphere in Croke Park, Roscommon will be hungry for more and success may not be that far away, on the evidence of this display.
But it has to be admitted that Laois were the stronger team on the day and they deserved to win this final. Having lost the past two finals at this level they were determined not to leave Croke Park without the cup this time around and they have some marvellous players who came up trumps for them on Sunday.
Louise Mahony fired over nine points from frees and from play and was tremendous throughout, while Sarah Anne Fitzgerald had a great game at midfield. Laura Marie Maher, Elaine Mahony and Amy Loughman were also very prominent for the winners.
Susan Spillane was Roscommon’s star turn. She was phenomenal all through and was close to being the player of the game. It was a stunning display from the St Dominic’s girl.
Siobhan Coyle was very strong at full-back while Rachel Fitzmaurice caught the eye at midfield. Up front Roscommon struggled. Annette McGeeney was by far Roscommon’s best forward and while Kelley Hopkins contributed handsomely from placed balls, she missed a few as well and overall Roscommon needed more punch in attack.
But these are problems that can be ironed out and I am certain that when Noel Finn, Noel Murphy and Ciara Moran get longer to work with this squad the rapid rate of progress that we have since June will accelerate even further.
Coyle, the Roscommon captain, acknowledged that Laois were just superior on the day.
“We are very disappointed but look, we knew that Laois were good. We knew that they would try to isolate their full-forward line and we always knew that they would get a goal or two and it was up to us to try and keep with them. They were just too good for us today.”
Now attention will turn to next season and with Laois moving out of this particular grade, Roscommon will firmly set their sights on winning next year’s All-Ireland Junior title.
Noel Finn seemed determined that Roscommon will grow from their experience – and be all the better for it.
“I am proud about the way Roscommon played here today but look, that’s sport. There is one winner and that’s Laois today but hopefully we will be back.”
He was backed up by Siobhan Coyle.
“It was fantastic to get this experience of Croke Park today. The players, the supporters, the clubs and everyone who was here will remember it. Roscommon camogie is now on the map.
“Laois have been the stand-out team in this division and we knew they were our biggest opposition – but they are gone out of this grade now. We are hungry for more and we want to get back here again.
“We have a lot of good young players coming on to the Roscommon scene and we can come back a lot stronger.”