A tough day at the office for Roscommon junior camogie manager Brian Griffin and his players. Whatever it was, Sunday’s league final at The Ragg just seemed to bypass his team as a much-improved Kerry team prevailed with plenty to spare. A Division Three title and promotion will have to wait another year at least.
Griffin couldn’t conceal his disappointment afterwards. Things had been going well after a disappointing 2017 since he and Paul Griffin came on board. But Sunday was a reality check and Griffin admitted that his side never gave themselves a chance.
“We were never in the contest. They scored a point after 30 seconds and a goal from an indirect free. Then they got another goal before half time which left it 2-4 to 0-2. It was always going to be an uphill struggle then.
“They put bodies behind the ball in the second half and brought it down to a dogfight. They were stronger than us and, technically, they were probably better than us too,” he conceded.
Once Kerry built up a lead, they knew how to protect it. A ten-point reversal was hard to stomach but Griffin vowed that he would rally the troops as the disappointment subsides.
“We wanted to stay in the game. If we won the toss, it probably would have helped us. We didn’t and once we were eight down at half time, it was always going to be tough for us. They dropped back a sweeper in the second half, and she mopped up everything.
“Hopefully we’ll learn from it and push on for the championship. It will be difficult over the next few weeks. All we can do is keep going,” he continued.
Griffin did feel that getting a bye to the final didn’t help his team’s cause. Given the harsh winter, preparations for the league have been far from smooth overall.
“We badly needed a game. They had a tough game against Clare in the semi-final. It stood to them but they’ve come on a lot since we played them a few weeks ago. We just have to regroup and go again.
“Hopefully this won’t knock the girls’ confidence. They have to stay together as a group and focus on the championship. It’s a long run into the championship, which will be a difficult sell as well. We have a three-month wait. All we can do is be positive about it and push on again,” he concluded.
Kerry boss Stephen Coggin hailed his side’s success as a “massive day for Kerry camogie”. With all starting 15 players from Clanmaurice that were beaten in last December’s All-Ireland Junior Club Championship final after a replay, Kerry were always going to be in great shape physically ahead of the new intercounty season.
“There was a lot of pressure on to perform and to be fair to the girls, to a player, they were outstanding,” he stated.
Goggin explained that while there were advantages to the unique circumstances surrounding Kerry camogie, there were very obvious disadvantages.
“When Roscommon finish they’ll go back and play club matches in their own county. These girls won’t do that because we don’t have the teams. We have one adult team and two underage teams. So we don’t have the luxury of letting them back to get away from the county scene.
“They’re with us from when we started in November to whenever we’re knocked out of the championship, and then they go into the Munster championship with the club. We just work around it, try to get challenge games. There’s massive credit due to these girls. It’s unbelievable,” he declared.