Kevin McStay usually accentuates the positives. But the Roscommon manager was riddled with disappointment and frustration as he tried to dissect a performance against Down that wasn’t acceptable. To his credit, he didn’t disguise his team’s shortcomings, which makes promotion from Division Two far more difficult.
“It was very frustrating. I don’t know how to sum it up. It was really very disappointing. From the first ball to the last, it was one of the poorest performances in my time here. We all need to have a good look at that.
“It has really kicked us in the teeth in terms of getting out of the division. We’re in no man’s land now really. There’s a lot of soul searching to be done in the week ahead.
“It (the malaise) was everywhere, from the first minute to the last. Some of the plays we got involved in were just incredible — to think that they could happen at this level.
“We had a chance at half time to remedy it. We gave everyone a chance to have a cut in the second half. We missed chances, including a penalty. But they’re not the moments that lost us the game. Some of our decision making defied belief. It looked as if we wouldn’t score at all in the first half at one stage,” he explained.
The two previous weekends saw late surges rescue seemingly impossible situations. However, the reality suggested that Roscommon weren’t playing well, and the manager acknowledged that the chickens had come home to roost.
“The form of the last two weeks caught up with us. You can’t be thinking that you’ll always get the job done in ten minutes.
“I have to commend Down though. They were the better, sharper team. They had more energy and desire than us, which I find amazing on our home pitch and after the position we were in following the Tipperary result. This has knocked us back badly.
“We’ve taken an awful belt today and maybe it’s telling us that we’re not good enough for Division One. Perhaps this is the level we’re at,” he continued.
McStay went on to say that Roscommon had to dust themselves down this week to prepare for an in-form Galway in Sunday’s FBD Connacht League final. However, he added that Sunday’s performance wouldn’t have supporters rubbing their hands with anticipation ahead of a repeat of last year’s provincial final.
“We’re playing our great rivals next Sunday. But who will want to come and watch the sort of stuff we produced today? It was simply shocking. I know it’s only February but now we have to win our next four matches (in the league). So that puts huge pressure on us. If we got something out of today, we had a bit of a cushion but that’s gone now.
“A lot of lads have to have a long talk with themselves because that’s simply not good enough at this level. We’ve gone out to take this league seriously. We win together and we lose together but the lads know my feelings on it. But they know themselves that that was miles off the standard we expect from them.
“We were always looking for another escape job really. We weren’t playing well enough to build on the third quarter. Just from the very start and you include the Niall McInerney exchange with the goalkeeper, that sort of sloppiness was in our play throughout. It just saps you eventually,” he conceded.
Down manager Eammon Burns felt that his side’s controlled performance had stabilised the Mourne men’s league prospects after last week’s reversal against Cork.
“It’s important because the division is very competitive. It means we’re facing into the break with four points, and then we have a home game against Clare, so it was important to come here and get some sort of a result. We’re delighted to have got both points down here. It sets us up and gets the ball rolling for us after a disappointing result against Cork,” he said.