On Monday evening the 10th July having had 24 hours to digest one of the great Roscommon Connacht final performances there was immense satisfaction among Roscommon GAA fans at what they had seen in Pearse Stadium. I happened to be in the company of a lot of the Roscommon players who were on their way to the races and I got a fair bit of good humoured slagging about predicting a Galway win in the previous weeks’ Roscommon People!
I met many great Roscommon GAA people on Monday who were so proud of what Kevin McStay and his players had achieved. We are all in agreement that this was one of the greatest Connacht final wins we had seen. In the past such a mighty win would have been the cue for an over the top celebration like we had in 2001 but what really struck me was that while this group of players were absolutely thrilled to have won, there was no big chat, no boasting, no roaring and shouting. They just chatted among themselves, happy with what they had achieved. They are a marvellous bunch of young lads who are very grounded and we are very lucky to have them.
So how much can this young team achieve? Much more would be my view but we must ensure that the current team management is left in place. It was be absolute madness to do anything else now and we are masters at making huge cock ups in Roscommon in that regard. I know that the players on the Roscommon panel are very happy with their lot and with everything that has gone on behind the scenes this year. That was very evident with the level of performance we saw on Sunday last. These lads are so modest and easy going. Speaking to them after the match and on Monday they are a credit to their families, their clubs and their county.
Kevin McStay set two goals this year. To get to the Connacht final was one and to reach the last eight was the second and he and his players achieved both on Sunday. The goals will now have to be reset. Let’s see who we get in the quarter-finals (I actually hope that it is Mayo) and take it from there. Last Sunday’s display will give the team enormous confidence and belief in themselves.
Promotion from Division Two is a realistic aim and to retain the Connacht title must be another for 2018. But that’s in the future. For the moment let us celebrate a brilliant win and a great day for Roscommon GAA. As long as Roscommon keep winning it doesn’t really matter whether the local GAA hacks are right or wrong in fact it’s totally irrelevant. I would be happy to be wrong every week if we keep on winning.
Two things more, firstly Donegal legend Martin McHugh sat beside me on Sunday in the press box. He remarked that Cian Connolly’s goal was one of the best he had ever seen in a major championship game and secondly Enda Smith’s performance on Sunday reminded me of Dermot Earley at his very best and I can think of no higher praise than that on both fronts. It was a day that Roscommon GAA fans shall never forget. (Roscommon People Article)