Kevin McStay has vowed to give more players their chance during Roscommon’s remaining FBD League games as he continues to mix youth and experience ahead of the crucial opening National Football League game against Meath on January 28th.
Tadhg McKenna, Ross Timothy, Padraig Kelly, Finbarr Cregg, Shane Dowd, Ciarán Lennon and Philip Neilan saw game time during Wednesday’s facile victory against Leitrim, but McStay insisted that these players could only flourish with more experienced players around them.
“There has to be a structure. We can’t introduce a new fella with 14 other new fellas. We have to have most of the main team there to give new players around them a fair shot at it. I think, in fairness, it worked very well for us (against Leitrim). We were still able to bring on top players at half time but we’ve still loads of work to do. It’s all about Meath because that’s the match that’s going to count,” he explained.
Roscommon enjoyed a bye in the FBD League last weekend but were scheduled to meet NUI Galway in a challenge match. The campaign resumes against Sligo in Kiltoom on Wednesday (tomorrow) evening at 7 p.m. before Mayo visit Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday next at 2 p.m..
“It’s nice to get the first game under your belt. It was reasonably competitive. We had the hard work done at half time,” reacted McStay to the 14-point victory against Leitrim.
“We thought we’d push on a bit better but this age old issue of bringing on subs — I haven’t figured it out — maybe we should leave all the subs at home,” he smiled.
Having said that, I was very happy with the two goals we got in the first half. We’ve done a lot of work on that. We ended up with around ten fellas that weren’t around last year at all. They got really good minutes. Overall, I’m really happy. Everyone did their cause no harm,” he continued.
It was evident that Roscommon are further down the road in terms of their fitness than they were 12 months ago. There are still problems to be ironed out, however, not least the recurring theme of securing primary possession at midfield.
“We’re fitter this time around. You can see that we’ve a few more weeks behind us in comparison to this time last year.
“I’m a little bit worried about Enda Smith. There were lumps of rust falling off him out there. He has missed a lot between the Aussie Rules, picking up a knock and getting sick (on the trip). We need to get more minutes into him, and we will. I thought that Seán Mullooly did great. Donie Smith and Diarmuid (Murtagh) can get some brilliant scores, and then they overcook things sometimes when they don’t need to.
“The midfield still isn’t competitive enough. It’s a big issue. Leitrim easily went 50/50 with us, if not more. We thought we’d do better. But I can’t fault the two lads (Tadhg O’Rourke and Ian Kilbride) that were there because they never stopped trying,” he concluded.
ROSCOMMON TEAM V SLIGO: Aaron Brady (Elphin); Seánie McDermott (Western Gaels), John McManus (Roscommon Gaels); Niall McInerney (St. Brigid’s); Conor Daly (Padraig Pearses), Seán Mullooly (Padraig Pearses), Fergal Lennon (Clann nan Gael); Enda Smith (Boyle), Fintan Cregg (Elphin); Niall Daly (Padraig Pearses), Ciaráin Murtagh (St. Faithleach’s), Padraig Kelly (St. Brigid’s); Diarmuid Murtagh (St. Faithleach’s, captain), Ciarán Lennon (Clann na nGael), Cian McKeon (Boyle). Subs: James Featherston (Roscommon Gaels), David Murray (Padraig Pearses), Donie Smith (Boyle), Tadhg McKenna (Boyle), Hubert Darcy (Padraig Pearses), Peter Domican (St. Brigid’s), Finbarr Cregg (Western Gaels).