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Honesty Of Effort And Absence Of Ego: The Kevin McStay Way

Honesty Of Effort And Absence Of Ego: The Kevin McStay Way
By Gavin Cooney Updated

First Galway were grounded, and then they were confounded.

Roscommon thoroughly disabused Galway of any notions of Connacht primacy yesterday, by first outworking and then outscoring the champions. The nine-point margin flattered Galway: they were inferior to Roscommon in every way. It proved sweet vindication for Roscommon manager Kevin McStay, who has crowned a turbulent year with the ultimate reproach to critics.

And McStay has had plenty. Former Roscommon manager Gay Sheerin complained of McStay's heritage: "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".

McStay has also had to deal with a mass exodus (Senan Kilbride, Neil Collins, Donie Shine, Niall Carty, Cathal Cregg, David Keenan, Seán ­Purcell and James McDermott have all left the panel for various reasons) and navigate the politics of what remained, which ended in joint-manager Fergal O'Donnell stepping away at the beginning of the year.

And yet, Roscommon are Connacht champions. It is a triumph for McStay, McHale, and the merry band of Rossies who have retained their zeal.

McStay was emotional after the game, as this fabulous Sportsfile photo attests:

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The Connacht final was among a number of topics up for discussion on this week's edition of Talking Points, our weekly GAA show in partnership with Sky Sports GAA.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TfLhiHc0tQ

Our guest this week was former Mayo midfielder David Brady, who was full of praise for McStay, and also revealed the message he sent to his Roscommon players ahead of the game.

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It was brilliant for Kevin McStay and Liam McHale.

The reality is, if someone is willing to give their heart and soul and 100% of what they have, then they deserve to be on the sideline, regardless of where they are from.

One thing I liked yesterday, he left the pitch before the final whistle yesterday [McStay shook hands with Kevin Walsh and jogged down the tunnel before the full-time whistle blew], because it wasn't about him.

'Honesty of effort, and absence of ego' was a sign on the dressing room wall yesterday. By Jaysus, there was an absence of ego in the way he presented himself yesterday. It was brilliant.

This final continued the fine tradition of Roscommon delivering when it is least expected of them, which Brady believes is a characteristic of Connacht football.

Every single Connacht team loves being the underdog. There are very fine footballers in every county, but there is an intense rivalry. And it was very evident in the Mayo/Galway game, where Galway were coming out beating their chests, saying 'they don't rate us', 'they're still not giving us credit for last year'.

So when the stakes are turned, and now they have to deal with being the favourites. And Connacht teams don't handle being the favourites.

As for an inferiority complex: no Connacht team has one. Because they all hate each other. I did say it going into yesterday's game, Galway held no fear for Roscommon.

 

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