A disappointing conclusion to their Westmeath senior football championship campaign, Rosemount will return to Group 2 prior to the start of their 2021 Flanagan Cup campaign following their loss to Coralstown/Kinnegad in a play-off fixture played in Castletown Geoghegan on Saturday evening.
Shorn of influential playing trio, Cathal Daly, Luke Kelly and David McCormack, Rosemount failed to impact positively the game and a four point defeat (1-8 - 0-7 ) ensured a second consecutive loss as the black and amber clad team completed their senior football championship journey for 2020.
A campaign which commenced with two victories from their opening encounters, Rosemount will reflect upon a COVID-19 effected championship with mixed emotions.
Having topped their round robin group with victories over Castledaly and The Downs they were favourites to advance to a semi-final berth but Athlone ended their Flanagan Cup aspirations for 2020.
Reflecting upon his charges senior football championship campaign, Rosemount manager, Frankie Dolan, expressed disappointment that initial winning momentum did not result in progression to the latter stages of this year’s competition.
“Although a quarter final place was achieved, it is wholly disappointing that we did not at least progress to the semi-final stage of the championship. Our performance against The Downs, in particular, during the first half of the game, was a source of much encouragement, but we failed to reach such levels against Athlone and ultimately, exited the championship,” Frankie asserted.
Expressing his dissatisfaction with the referee’s approach to the Athlone game, Frankie stated that his timekeeping was not at a level at which it should have been.
“In truth, I was disappointed with referee’s performance on the day. I thought he didn’t allow sufficient time at the end of both halves with regard to the water breaks and we were wrongly penalised on numerous occasions for our manner of tackling the player in possession of which many challenges were wholly legal.
“However, despite being in the ascendancy in the possession stakes for periods of the game we didn’t avail of our scoring chances, Athlone player well when breaking from defence and merited the win at the end of the game,” Frankie stated, as he noted the “massive loss” that was Enda Boland’s absence from the contest.
Noting the COVID-19 interrupted season, Frankie stressed that the pandemic curtailed the manner in which he was able to imprint his playing philosophy on the team.
“Obviously, you want to have ample time to impose your playing philosophy on a new team once you become manager and although we returned to full training in early February our progress was hampered by the presence of the virus. You want to have an opportunity to get to know your players both on and off the playing field but COVID-19 brought a swift stop to our preparations. It was a sense of utter frustration,” Frankie added.
As squad training resumed towards the end of June Frankie endeavoured to impose his mode of play in the short period of time prior to the start of the championship with a number of challenge game encounters and when two victories were secured from the team’s round robin fixtures the immediate future was one of positivity for Rosemount.
“The three week break prior to the Athlone game halted momentum, but to give Athlone due credit, as I’ve previously stated, they deserved to win our quarter final tie,” Frankie said.
Yet to make a firm decision on his managerial future, Frankie afforded due gratitude to officials and volunteers from all the local clubs who enabled the Westmeath football championships to proceed within such unprecedented circumstances.