Roscommon minor ladies’ manager Ollie Colgan thought of everybody at the final whistle. The Clann na nGael clubman was disappointed, but proud of his players.
He told his crestfallen troops how pleased he was to see them give everything they had for the county jersey. He reminded them that it had to be a template for these players going forward. Then he spoke to parents and supporters before making his way to the dressing room to check on players who suffered injuries during Saturday’s pulsating contest in Swinford.
Roscommon’s fighting spirit was hugely admirable. But ultimately, a slow start cost them.
“Our start — I don’t know whether it was nerves or what it was. You look at the statistics. We were about 1-4 to no score down after a few minutes and we lost by five points.
“But I’m so proud of them — super proud of them. The way they came back. They never gave up. We probably have to admit that we lost to a better team at the end of the day,” he conceded.
Roscommon literally ignored the scoreboard after the opening ten minutes. There was a feeling that they were only a score or two away from the game completely slipping away from them. The manager noted that they had spoken about this beforehand. Irrespective of the score, they were encouraged to stick to their gameplan and keep playing.
“We actually said that to them. To forget about the score. The only score that counted was the final score. Everyone was told to play their game and not be looking up at the scoreboard. That was the plan, to give them a bit of freedom,” he noted.
“We know these girls and they’ve terrific heart and terrific hunger. They want to make a statement. There’s a great bond there and they never give up,” he added.
Roscommon got back to within a couple of scores three times in the second half. But Galway always seemed able to find a score when they needed too. It’s something the Roscommon manager acknowledged, feeling it said much about the winners’ ability.
“You have to admire class when it happens too. We thought if we kept within the three or four points, maybe one score, that maybe they’d get something into their head and they’d panic a little bit.
“But they didn’t. In fairness to them, they kicked on and scored three great points at the finish. That’s the sign of a great team. They are All-Ireland champions and they’re All-Ireland champions for a reason,” he highlighted.
Saturday’s defeat will not be viewed as a moral victory. But it’s impossible to ignore the progress that this Roscommon team have made. They beat Mayo and stood toe to toe with a top Galway side.
“It has been a super year. Any neutral that was here today — and there was a lot of them thank God, we got great support — they will admit that we’ve moved it on a level. And we’re up there now competing with teams like Galway and Mayo. That’s a statement in itself I think.
“We still have the B route. So we’ll regroup for that,” concluded Colgan.
The pain man linger for some time but when this team and their management dust themselves down, they can still gain something substantial for all their efforts.