McStay insists Daly still has part to play after 'hard-to-take' defeat
Donegal 0-16 Roscommon 2-9
Roscommon manager Kevin McStay explained that Niall Daly still remained part of the Roscommon senior football panel, despite not featuring in his side's one-point defeat against Donegal.
McStay insisted that the door remained open for the Padraig Pearses player to return even though he clarified that Daly was aggrieved at not being given a starting berth on Sunday last.
"We played Tyrone last week. Niall was substituted at half-time, and he was very unhappy about that. He didn't make the starting 15 for this game. In the dynamic of team games, some days you do make it, some days you don't. Fintan Cregg didn't start against Tyrone but he started today.
"Niall just wasn't happy with that situation. I cannot guarantee anyone on the starting 15 a jersey. So he has taken a bit of time off to reflect on whether he wants to come back and fight for his place on the team.
"It's very disappointing, in the build-up to a big match, that there's a sideshow like this. I don't know why these things become such major issues. I really don't. It's a very simple thing for me - do you want to play for Roscommon or do you not want to play for Roscommon? It's just disappointing that I have to spend time talking to my players and the media about it. We should be talking about the fellas that are here."
For his part, McStay's counterpart Rory Gallagher hailed his side's fighting qualities as Eoin McHugh's injury-time point proved the match-winner.
In what was billed as a defining game in terms of both teams' survival prospects in Division 1, it was the visitors who showed more composure in front of goal.
"The never-say-die attitude was pleasing. When you are a manager or a coach you look for your team to give absolutely everything. I thought our boys did that in the first half and the second half, and after a number of setbacks they still ground it out."
Conor Devaney's stunning 65th-minute goal looked to have earned a draw for the Rossies who led by three points at the break, having played with a strong wind.
Indeed they had the chance to win it late on but Ronan Stack's effort on goal was blocked when a simple point seemed to be the wiser option. To rub salt into the home side's wounds, McHugh fastened himself to a flowing counter-attack to glide over the winner.
"It's very hard to take. We put so much into the game, but it didn't work out. However, I can't fault anybody's effort. It was an outrageous effort," added McStay.
Ciarán Murtagh's 22nd-minute goal, after Donegal messed up a short kick-out, was the defining score in the first half. Overall, there was little to separate the sides with Ciarán Thompson catching the eye for the winners.
The second half was frenetic as both sides missed goal chances with Brennan denied by a last-ditch Niall McInerney intervention, while Devaney blazed a good chance just past the post.
SCORERS - Donegal: M O'Reilly, E McHugh, C Thompson 0-3 each, M Murphy (2f), P McBrearty 0-2 each, M Carroll, E Bán Gallagher, J Brennan 0-1 each. Roscommon: C Murtagh (2f) 1-4, C Devaney 1-0, E Smith, K Higgins 0-2 each, F Cregg 0-1.
DONEGAL - M A McGinley 7; C Ward 6, N McGee 6, P McGrath 6; R McHugh 7, E Bán Gallagher 7, P Brennan 5; J McGee 7, M Murphy 7; C Thompson 8, M O'Reilly 7, E McHugh 7; P McBrearty 6, M Carroll 6, J Brennan 6. Subs: M McHugh 5 for Brennan (17), F McGlynn 7 for M McHugh (h-t), D O'Connor 5 for McBrearty (49), C Gibbons 5 for Brennan (63), E Doherty 5 for McGee (68), H McFadden 5 for O'Connor (70, BC).
ROSCOMMON - C Lavin 6; S McDermott 7, T Featherston 6, N McInerney 6; R Stack 6, S Mullooly 7, J McManus 7; K Higgins 6, T O'Rourke 6; S Killoran 6, C Devaney 7, C Murtagh 6; D Smith 6, F Cregg 6, E Smith 6. Subs: T Corcoran 5 for Higgins (47), N Kilroy 5 for Cregg (49), C Connolly 5 for D Smith (58), G Patterson 5 for Murtagh (65).
REF - D O'Mahoney (Tipperary)