Regrets? We have plenty
Published 19/07/2010 | 05:00
OUR bus streamed away from Castlebar with a garda escort helping us past the worst of the traffic. Behind us, we left the Connacht championship and a stream of regrets.
We did things in the game we said we wouldn't and didn't do other stuff that we promised we would. We gave away too many frees, for which we were punished by Donie Shine. You'd have arguments with a few of those decisions, but that's not an excuse. When it came to it, the hungrier side won out.
I'm just home and still looking for reasons for why it went wrong. Did the Galway games take too much out of us physically and emotionally? I don't think so but something that would help rationalise it would help, especially with just six days to turn things around against Down.
The major factor was the performance of Roscommon. They got their tactics bang on and locked up some of our key men. Fergal O'Donnell came into our dressing-room afterwards and spoke about how it was the best performance his side had given all year. Conversely, we hadn't lost since playing Wexford in the league on March 7 and that run included a seven-point win over Roscommon.
There certainly was no complacency on our part. We approached the game in the same way as our other Connacht matches. We did our video work, talked about what way we needed to play and what we needed to avoid. The disappointing aspect is that we failed to put some of those things into practice.
We showed a bit of character to get ourselves back into the game. When we got level, I knew the next score was crucial. But they got what I felt was a soft free and Shine pointed. We got level again but just couldn't see them off when we had the run on them.
The dressing-room was an awful place to be. The sound of boots hitting the floor and people rummaging through bags was all you could hear. No one said much until Kevin Walsh told us that although one light had gone out, another one was turned on.
We have Down next weekend in the qualifiers and if we win that one we'll find ourselves in the last eight in the country. They were playing this weekend too, so they'll have all the same bumps and bruises that we'll have.
Getting right physically won't be an issue for us -- the challenge will be to get focused mentally. The week will fly in.