Huge boost for Roscommon in victory over neighbours Galway

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Brian Stack scores Roscommon’s second goal while under pressure from Gary O’Donnell and Eoghan Kerin of Galway. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

Brian Stack scores Roscommon’s second goal while under pressure from Gary O’Donnell and Eoghan Kerin of Galway. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

Roscommon manager Kevin McStay was delighted with Sunday’s splendid 2-15 to 0-12 Connacht SFC Final success over Galway at Pearse Stadium.

A blistering start, which saw Roscommon score 1-6 in the opening 14 minutes including a great Cian Connolly goal following Diarmuid Murtagh’s excellent delivery, put Galway under severe pressure. Galway rallied after the restart, but Brian Stack struck a vital goal.

Enda Smith was influential at centre field for Roscommon, while his brother Donie and the effective Conor Devaney, kicked a couple of late points to seal the deal.

“I’m really happy, but I’m not going to make more of it than it is,” McStay said afterwards. “Galway were possibly looking at other stuff. We’ll see them again, they’ll come again. I have no doubt they will. It’ll hurt them but I have a great sense Galway are going in the right direction.

“To beat Galway was a big thing for the county. We don’t beat Galway or Mayo too often. To be rated, for us, we have to be beating the Galways and Mayos.”

The victory is a significant boost for Roscommon, who claimed their first provincial title since 2010, ahead of the All Ireland quarter-final.

“This gives us a lot of confidence,” McStay admits. “It’s like if you wanted to be rated around the country you have to beat Dublin or Mayo or Kerry. That’s the way it is. Here in Connacht, for us to be taken as serious contenders, we have to beat Mayo, we have to beat Galway.

“Hard luck to Galway, they were great champions. We took an awful lot of encouragement from the way they handled Mayo in the past two years. I felt if we could get the build-up right, our fitness levels right, that we might be able to take them if they took their eye off the ball a bit. I don’t know if they did or they didn’t. I certainly felt we arrived spot on for it.”

McStay had Roscommon primed for this battle in Salthill.

“It’s the funny thing about championship, and you’d think we’d eventually learn we are at it so long when we are looking in over the fence, I did it myself for years,” McStay reflected. “You draw straight lines from games of no significance and yet inside our group there was never any sense we were coming in here as huge underdogs. There wasn’t. If you’re in a championship dressing room, it can’t be any other way.

“We got our different objectives right, we got a good start, I know to the outside world we weren’t even to show up, and I don’t blame them for going down that way. The lads that are writing about it should know that in championship if you get energised and you get totally committed, a lot of daft stuff happens in 70 minutes.”

Enda Smith’s contribution was praised by McStay also.

“He is very well known in Roscommon and maybe in college football, but maybe outside of Connacht he is not that well known,” McStay stated. “We had to challenge Enda, ‘come on now, announce yourself as a provincial footballer and launch yourself on the national stage’, because he has magnificent talent.

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