Saturday 17 March 2018

McHale urges Rossies' young guns to keep feet on ground

Roscommon manager Fergal O'Donnell. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sporstfile
Roscommon manager Fergal O'Donnell. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sporstfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

In the wake of their hammering of Cork, Roscommon joint-manager Fergal O'Donnell was busy afterwards insisting that staying in Division 1 remained their priority.

Down the hall, coach Liam McHale was pleading for patience with the county's young tyros, while outside the considerable Roscommon support were basking in the magnitude of their win and getting giddy at the prospect of what might lie ahead for this team in the coming weeks and seasons.

"There's a lot of talent but they're very, very young," former Mayo star McHale warned.

"The fans are great, they're getting behind them and travelling in numbers. But they need to be patient. A lot of the key players are U-21 or (just) out of U-21.


"This is a man's league. Division 3 and Division 2 wasn't anything like this.

"We've got two wins, one more will keep us safe and that's all this current management team wants at the moment."

Roscommon went to Cork with a panel that could justify the county's Division 1 status.

O'Donnell agreed that they have done some great work to produce competitive teams so regularly but was at pains to stress that won't automatically translate to senior success.

"Roscommon has put in massive work in the underage and I think we have to be careful," O'Donnell said.

"I think we have worked harder than a lot of the other teams so we mightn't get as much improvement at senior.

"A lot of people might expect. . . I think we have done massive work at underage and maybe we have over-competed - we've been a top eight team for the last number of years.

"The problem with that is that people expect instant success. Fellas have competed against top teams but they have a long way to go and they wouldn't want to get carried away."

McHale's sentiments were similar as he insisted Roscommon still have much to learn despite back-to-back victories away to the Rebels and Kerry.

"They have to learn how to play at this level and they have to learn how to defend properly and play with that space and play with that enthusiasm," McHale said.

"Don't be scared going out playing these teams. If we went out today and played well and lost by a point, it wasn't the end of the world."

Irish Independent

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