Wednesday 23 January 2019

Devaney: Time out whetted appetite

'Devaney also missed a further two seasons when he didn't
'Devaney also missed a further two seasons when he didn't "see eye to eye" with then manager John Evans.' Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

For Roscommon's Conor Devaney, absence makes the heart grow fonder. He's one of the panel's senior men now, having made his championship debut back in 2008 but it hasn't all been plain sailing since then.

When the Rossies won their first Connacht title in nine years in 2010, he was a victim of circumstance, having taken the chance to travel that summer.

Devaney also missed a further two seasons when he didn't "see eye to eye" with then manager John Evans. Time away from the game helped him realise what he wanted from it.

"I suppose it gives you time to reflect on what you want to achieve more than anything else and why you are playing it," he reflected. "I think sometimes players just roll on from year to year and they don't really think about, 'Why am I playing this? What do I want to achieve this year?' You miss out on a Connacht title (in 2010) and you think, 'Jesus, will I ever get one?' And then you come back and you are probably more motivated to succeed. Now that was for me, but everybody is different."

One of the county's most versatile players, Roscommon have been reaping the rewards of his new-found desire. Devaney was the county's top scorer from play in the championship last year as they secured a Connacht title before going down to Mayo after a replay.

They might have beaten Mayo in their drawn quarter-final but he frankly admits that the second game was probably a more accurate reflection of the teams' standings.

"It was very tough to take the second day, considering how close we were to beating Mayo the first day and then realising how much of a gap there really is between ourselves and Mayo. That made us think what do we need to do to close that gap. It's very hard to know because they're that much ahead at the moment.

"I think the second day was more reflective. They had a number of games where they might have been tired and might have just came into the game and maybe didn't expect us to play as well.

"The second day you can really see how they honed in on certain areas and they improved dramatically, whereas our flaws where that we didn't improve, we stayed the same whereas they improved dramatically."

Irish Independent

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