McCarron on song as the Rossies fade
Monaghan 2-17 Roscommon 1-13
On one hand, Kevin McStay insisted his Roscommon side will wring everything they can out of the rest of their Division 1 campaign as they build towards the summer. While on the other, he accepted they have lots to do to catch up on with seasoned top-flight teams like Monaghan, who simply powered past his side in the final quarter.
Yesterday's result in Inniskeen didn't relegate Roscommon. Not officially at least. A series of results that would see themselves, Mayo and Cavan finish on four points is still possible on paper and from there it would come down to score difference.
But the chances of things panning out that way are so remote as to not be relevant. For a start, Roscommon need to beat Dublin in Croke Park next weekend.
"The two matches left, to the outside viewer look like dead rubbers but I can assure you - they are not to us," McStay reflected afterwards. "We are going in to get as much out of the division before we say goodbye to it. We will be trying very hard next weekend and savagely hard against Cavan as well."
Roscommon went in at the break trailing by four points (0-12 to 0-8). They had their period of dominance but for the most part, Monaghan looked that little bit slicker with Darren O'Malley making two excellent saves at either end of the half to help keep them in touch.
McStay's side were still in striking distance early in the second half but when Monaghan struck for their first goal, the gap stood at seven points. And it seemed unlikely that a stuttering Roscommon forward line could peg that back. Afterwards, McStay bemoaned a dearth of physicality in his side, insisting their conditioning was "not at Dividion 1 level" after his side faded in the final quarter.
"Just our physicality at the moment is not at Division 1 level, it's at Division 2, Division 3 level and we can't compete with this lack of physicality we have at the moment."
Darren Hughes' barrelling run put him clear of the cover and he managed to feed McCarron who toe-poked to the net on 53 minutes. They'd grab another goal on the hour mark as a slick one-two between McManus and Owen Duffy saw the latter bat to an empty net and give the Farney men an 11-point lead.
Roscommon grabbed a consolation goal late on through Tadgh O'Rourke but it made little difference.
"'Disappointing' is the word, we put a lot into the weekend and came here at lunchtime yesterday and prepared as best we could," McStay reflected.
"They are a very seasoned team and it is a hard system to play against the way they set up."
Monaghan boss Malachy O'Rourke was pleased to see McCarron deliver another big performance after his bad run of injuries.
"Jack just had a couple of very tough years there, he did his cruciate and then coming back last year he hurt his hamstring. So he didn't really get a good run at all. We're delighted, he's worked really hard on his own."
McStay faces the difficult task of getting his side together to play Dublin in just six days but insists morale is good. "The team is tight, morale is very good in the team," he said. "We have a very good spirit. They're young, enthusiastic, they're learning tough, tough lessons in this difficult, difficult division.
"National league football is getting a very, very high standard football ... so they're learning all the time. They're tough lessons but I have no sense that we're going to back away from what's ahead of us this summer. We'll put down our heads and stay at it."
SCORERS - Monaghan: J McCarron (5f) 1-7; O Duffy 1-1; C McManus (2f) 0-4; D Ward 0-2; S Carey, D Hughes, F Kelly 0-1 each.
Roscommon: C Murtagh (5f) 0-6; T O'Rourke 1-0; C Devaney, D Smith 0-2 each; D Murtagh (1f), G Patterson, E Smith 0-1 each.
Monaghan - R Beggan 7; F Kelly 8, D Wylie 7, R Wylie 7; R McAnespie 7, N McAdam 6, K O'Connell 6; D Hughes 7, K Hughes 7; D Ward 7, S Carey 6, G Doogan 8; K Duffy 7, J McCarron 8, C McManus 7. Subs: O Duffy 8 for Carey (47), C McCarthy 7 for McAnespie (52), V Corey 6 for K Duffy, O Coyle for Wylie (both 62), B Greenan for D Hughes (66), S Gollogly for O'Connell (67).
Roscommon - D O'Malley 8; S McDermott 7, T Featherston 6, N McInerney 8; G Patterson 6, S Mullooly 7, D Murray 7; T Corcoran 6, T O'Rourke 7; F Cregg 6, C Devaney 7, E Smith 6; C Murtagh 6, D Smith 6, C Connolly 6. Subs: R Stack 6 for Cregg, U Harney 7 for Patterson, P Brogan 6 for Featherston (all HT), D Murtagh 6 for Connolly (50), C Compton 7 for D Smith (55), S Killoran for Corcoran (63).
Ref - N Mooney (Cavan).