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"I Don't Like Seeing Mayo Men On The Line For Roscommon" - Ex-Roscommon Manager Lashes Out

"I Don't Like Seeing Mayo Men On The Line For Roscommon" - Ex-Roscommon Manager Lashes Out
By Conor Neville Updated

Roscommon have now lost three from three in Division 1 and the smart money now indicates they are not long for football's top table. Their latest defeat was easily the most depressing, an eight point loss to their despised neighbours in Castlebar.

This time last year, Roscommon football was in a buoyant mood, much to the irritation of their Connacht rivals. Twelve months on, misery abounds. And it isn't confined to on-field matters.

Kevin McStay, formerly Roscommon's co-manager, and now, controversially, Roscommon's sole manager, was under pressure before the year even began.

His former co-manager Fergal O'Donnell, the ex-Roscommon midfielder who led the county to a minor All-Ireland in 2006 and an unlikely Connacht title in 2010, resigned along with selectors David Casey and Stephen Bohan. O'Donnell alleged in his statement that "a concerted effort had been made to undermine and disparage us." It should be stressed that O'Donnell said that these efforts were made "outside of management and players."

Since then, a number of players have quit. Senan Kilbride, Geoffrey Claffey and Niall Carty retired, while Cathal Cregg stepped away to focus on his studies.

On Shannonside, co-commentator Gay Sheerin had a serious cut at the management team. And he hit them where they are most vulnerable from a Roscommon point of view.

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That is to say, their irredeemable Mayo-ness.

Now I'm going to get nailed for this rant, there's no doubt about it. But I'm only telling it the way I see it. The players will do their best. But you have to put things in place. And things aren't in place for my liking.

I do not like to see Mayo men on the sideline for a Roscommon team. I fought for years against Liam McHale and Kevin McStay, playing against them. And they hated me and they hated Roscommon.

And they can't have got that love (for Roscommon), there's no way, because I couldn't get that love for them.

This emotive/silly argument is rather complicated by the fact that McStay and McHale once led a Roscommon club stuffed with Roscommon players to an All-Ireland club title back in 2013.

Sheerin was Roscommon goalkeeper from the late 70s until the early 90s, a career which encompassed both an All-Ireland final appearance in 1980 and the crossbar coming down in a Connacht Final in 1992. He won six Connacht titles and his career overlapped with that of both McStay and McHale.

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A recent member of John Evans' backroom team, not to mention a former Roscommon manager himself in the late 90s, Sheerin asserted that there was widespread apathy among the Roscommon playing corps. And he heavily implied - well, he more or less said - that this was the fault of the management.

The biggest problem now is we have is we don't have the old heads that can lift that team. It's wrong and it shouldn't happen - and I'm laying the blame at Kevin McStay's door. I don't care who says what about what Gay Sheerin is mouthing about on the radio.

When you look down on the sideline and you don't see a Roscommon person there. . . if there was a Roscommon person there a lot of those players wouldn't have walked. And Fergal O'Donnell got a lot of abuse last year, and I would have questioned a lot of Fergal's tactics, but at the same time, Fergal O'Donnell is a Roscommon man that wants Roscommon players playing and they would be down on the bench or playing, and they're not...

I'm getting calls from lads in America asking, "what's happening to our Roscommon team?" And I said, "look, I don't know what's happening." The players aren't there and 49% said they don't want the manager and he takes the job and, well, I just can't see what the reasoning is. And the county board have asked no questions as to why those players were let go...

Now the argument will be, from people holding pints of Guinness standing over the bar, that Sheerin is talking through his arse. That if the players don't want to play for the county, well then get the guys that want to be there.

But the simple fact of it is, I know all of those lads, I know what makes them tick, and the Roscommon jersey makes them tick. And the thing is, if they haven't faith in the manager, if 49% of them haven't faith in the manager, then I'm sure the other 51% are losing it.

We should point out that McStay is the first Mayo man to manage Roscommon since John Maughan in the 2007-08 period.

At this point, it would probably be better if McStay and McHale didn't think too hard about how that episode ended.

Read more: Ranking Every Taoiseach In Order Of Their Ability To Piggyback On Irish Sporting Success

 

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