• Home
  • /
  • GAA
  • /
  • Roscommon's Amazing League Form Provides Cruel Reminder Of Massive Mayo Cock-Up With Kevin McStay

Roscommon's Amazing League Form Provides Cruel Reminder Of Massive Mayo Cock-Up With Kevin McStay

Roscommon's Amazing League Form Provides Cruel Reminder Of Massive Mayo Cock-Up With Kevin McStay
By Gavin Cooney

One result in particular stood out from the weekend's National League action:

Cork 3-10

Roscommon 4-25

It was an astonishing score posted by Roscommon, even more so considering it was away from home:

Advertisement

It could have been all the more emphatic for Roscommon, as they led 4-21 to 2-7 after 55 minutes. Of the 4-25 scored, 4-22 came from play, with Ciaran Murtagh kicking 2-3. While there will be many recriminations in Cork, it is a considerable achievement by Roscommon, who had won their previous league fixture away to Kerry.

Barry O'Donovan's report in Cork's Evening Echo highlighted Roscommon's unity and structure under joint managers Kevin McStay and Fergal O'Donnell as being the difference between the two sides:

Basically Roscommon were everything that Cork weren’t. Fergal O’Donnell and Kevin McStay’s side were full of spark, full of purpose and pace in their football and came to Cork full of obvious conviction and belief in what they were trying to do and the statement they wanted to make (as well as a clear mission to win the game). Cork looked a collection of good footballers capable of producing moments and spells but lacking any cohesion or collective sense of what exactly they’re meant to be about.

There isn’t yet a clear structure to the team apart from placing guys from two to 15 and letting them at it and there’s a sense that Cork are waiting on a style of play to emerge or a batch of players to make a leap into form and/or inspirational leadership. There doesn’t seem an obvious reason for a talent gap between Roscommon and Cork footballers individually but they had the best five (at least) footballers on the field by a long way yesterday. Cork still hasn’t located that feeling of a team on a journey.

As Roscommon sit third in Division One on four points, McStay is looking downwards towards his native Mayo, who are joint bottom with Down on zero points.

McStay and his brother-in-law Liam McHale were overlooked for the Mayo job in 2015, with the job given to Noel Kennelly and Pat Holmes. With both Kennelly and Holmes now out of the job owing to displeasure among the players, Mayo have failed to fire in this year's league as new manager Stephen Rochford bedding into the job while missing his Castlebar Mitchells contingent to the club championship.

Advertisement

They were edged by two points in a thrilling contest with Donegal yesterday, evidence that Mayo are slowly coming to grips with Rochford's new management, but are in serious danger of relegation with a difficult trip to Clones ahead. Rochford said that his side's performance was encouraging but admitted that Mayo had to "move beyond good games and performances and look to get two points".

While Mayo will undoubtedly improve, the amount of upheaval and instability wrought by the dismissal of Pat Holmes and Noel Kennelly and the appointment of Rochford is contributing to a poor league campaign and ahead of a Connacht Championship in which Roscommon must be considered as serious contenders.

How different would things be if Mayo had appointed McStay last year? The former Sunday Game analyst was overlooked for the Mayo job last year, and ranks it as his greatest regret in football. Writing in "The Scrapbook of Regrets", a GAA book put together by a national school in Leitrim, McStay admitted that missing out on the Mayo job is his greatest regret in the sport:

Advertisement

Failing to secure the position of Mayo senior football team manager.

It became vacant in August 2014 and it was my second time to apply for this prestigious position.

It was an appointment I was keen to fill. I had worked tirelessly to be ready if the opportunity arose and when it did I applied both publicly and immediately.

Over a period of 20 years of club and county management at various levels, I knew I was ready for the responsibilities and challenges and believed strongly I could make a difference. Coupled with my media interests, experience and the confidence gained from managing the 2013 All-Ireland Club champions, St Brigid’s, Roscommon.

I knew I had the enthusiasm, energy and know-how to manage my county at the highest level.

Those charged with making this appointment felt otherwise and that, of course, is their prerogative.

Now, as Mayo face into an uncertain league conclusion and a championship campaign without an ideal preparation given the upheaval, how different would things be if they had appointed McStay last year? Roscommon often flatter to deceive in the League, but all Mayo people must be wondering what McStay and McHale could have done with this crop of Mayo talent.

See Also: The Sporting Pedigree Of The New Dáil Is An Absolute Disgrace

Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are subscribed now!

Copyright © 2022. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com

Advertisement