Thursday 24 May 2018

McStay seeks to create 'stability' by extending his term

Kevin McStay. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile
Kevin McStay. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Kevin McStay says he is not yet at the halfway point of his Roscommon project after extending his agreement to manage them by a further year.

McStay said by adding the year, that will take him to 2019 with the option to extend to 2020, he wanted to create stability for a squad with an average age of just 23.

My belief is we need continuity," he said. "After we won Connacht, it gave us a little bit of confidence that we are pushing in the right direction and we should further it.

"I don't think it would be good to be managing if it was my final year. Players might look and say, 'This is his last year, what's going to happen, am in or out.'

"The average age of the team is just beyond 23, (this is) to get them up to mid 20s and get them through the strength and conditioning programme that we have set in place and be really competitive nationally.

"We haven't reached the halfway point, that is essentially what it is about. I take the same opinion for other county teams, managers should be there for four or five years, unless they are making a complete hames of it. There should be stability, there should be a sense of seeing out a plan."

Roscommon won a Connacht title, held Mayo to a draw in an All-Ireland quarter-final but then lost a replay by 22 points, leaving mixed emotions about the season.

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"It depends on what view you take. Some supporters would be very disappointed with the manner of the defeat. If you look at the replay, 22 points, we did think those days are over. But then, if you look at the Connacht Championship to define the season it was a huge success. The draw against Mayo was evidence that we are getting there, but then the replay debunked all that to a certain degree. We won't let that match define our season. Among the backroom team and players, we've met them all over the last few weeks, there is certainly a sense of a nice bit done, a lot more to do."

McStay will watch this weekend's senior semi-finals involving Boyle, Roscommon Gaels, Western Gaels and St Brigid's that will feature 15 to 20 players who could be in the mix next season. Among them is Cathal Cregg who didn't play last year and McStay insists the door is open for him and others to return. Discussions are also taking place with Neil Collins to establish if he can commit in 2019 after opting out to pursue business interests.

Meanwhile, McStay believes the Standing Playing Rules Committee should have gone further and proposed a rule that would force all kick-outs to cross the 45 metre line. Special Congress will vote on a motion that will seek future kick-outs to go beyond the 20-metre line but, in his view, this was too conservative.

"It's grand. I'm sure it's very considered but it's only a band aid on the whole thing. Why didn't they push it on to the 45?"

McStay has reiterated his view that cynical play is a more pressing issue for Gaelic football despite the presence of the black card for the last four years with last week's All-Ireland final only embellishing that view.

He believes a black-card offence in normal time should have the added deterrent of a 20-metre free, while in injury time at the end of either half the punishment should be a penalty.

"The end of these major games are hugely unsatisfactory from a manager's point of view, especially if you are the manager chasing the game. And from both sets of supporters' point of view. And here we are, nothing apparently needs to be done, no rules addressing it," he said.

"The matters that arose in the All-Ireland final, nothing being done. That doesn't reflect well on the game. I'd say that if Roscommon were involved too. People say the black card is, by and large, working. By and large, it's not working."

Irish Independent

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