Monday 21 August 2017

'You lose you are useless, you win you are mighty' - critics bemuse McStay

An emotional Kevin McStay, manager of Roscommon, after victory over Galway. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
An emotional Kevin McStay, manager of Roscommon, after victory over Galway. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Kevin McStay "didn't want to go there" but veteran defender Seanie McDermott, basking in the success of a second Connacht title, had no problem making the leap into the realms of apparent division in Roscommon football after the break-up of the joint-management team after last year.

For him, it was never an issue that there was a portion of the dressing-room who would have preferred a fresh break.

"There was an awful lot of talk out there about unrest. There was no unrest in our dressing-room," he declared. "Whatever happened between Fergal and Kevin, that's management, that's how things go. As players, you either want to play for Roscommon or you don't.

"For me, it didn't matter if it was Mickey Mouse that was over the team. I just want to play for Roscommon as long as I can.

"Same for all the lads in there. There is a lot of talent in Roscommon but you have to be on the edge, on the tempo, or you are not going to win games and that's where we were today."

McStay said there was never a sense in their dressing room that they were underdogs.

"In a championship dressing room it can't be any other way.

"I know as far as the outside world was concerned we were not even supposed to show up.

"I don't blame them for that but the lads that are writing about it should know that in championship, if you get energised, totally committed to something, a lot of daft stuff happens in 70 minutes.

"We said a couple of weeks ago in our training camp, the night that Monaghan lost (to Down) when they were one game away from being a top-four team. And when they lost all the wise men had them down at whatever number.

"It is a small competition, there are only eight to 10 teams in the mix so you win one game and it puts you in a completely different position.

"You lose you are useless, you win you are mighty. I guess we are somewhere in the middle."

McStay felt Galway were "possibly looking at other stuff" but acknowledged the significance of Roscommon beating them.

"To beat Galway was a big thing for the county. We don't beat Galway and Mayo too often. To be rated you have to be beating the Galways, Mayos. For us, that gives us a lot of confidence.

"If you wanted to be rated around the country you have to beat Dublin or Kerry or Mayo, that's the way it is. In Connacht, for us to be taken as serious contenders, we have to beat Mayo or Galway."

He also revealed how they had focused on getting a big performance out of Enda Smith.

"He is very well known in Roscommon and in college but outside of Connacht he is maybe not that well known.

Challenge

"We had to challenge Enda, 'come on now, announce yourself as a provincial footballer and launch yourself on the national stage' because he has magnificent talent."

McStay admitted that beating Cavan in the last game of the league had a resonance for them.

"It turned a corner for us because it showed that we had a bit of pride and heart. The easy thing to do was to lose by seven points and continue with all the daftness around you.

"But the lads we had went out and gave it a cut in a Division One game. It wasn't of much significance to the rest of the country but it was to us. It showed that we had guts and pride."

Galway manager Kevin Walsh pointed to their inability to control midfield as a major factor.

"I just thought we were second best to a lot of breaking ball and they outclassed us on a number of marks," he said.

"We seemed to be that half-yard off for long periods, whether it is the stuff you hear outside that 'Roscommon are this and that.' People forgot Roscommon are Division One for the last two years."

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Irish Independent

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