ROSCOMMON boss Fergal O’Donnell claimed his side lacked the staying power in the second half to make a serious bid for honours.
O’Donnell conceded that Cork’s greater experience and strength told after the interval with the likes of Nicholas Murphy and John Miskella having a huge impact when introduced at the break. But O’Donnell was disappointed at the number of handling errors made by his players and felt that they had helped Cork’s recovery with needless turnovers leading to the concession of scores that drained the life out of Roscommon’s challenge. "I’d say we just ran out of steam. The disappointing thing was the last 20 minutes of the game. The amount of ball we gave away cost us. People will say Cork could have got another two or three goals during that second half but it would have been handed to them. I think it was an accumulation of factors. They emptied the bench at half-time and we just didn’t have the strength in depth they had. It is a young team as well. A few lads came off and our replacements just weren’t as strong.
"They just gradually wore us down. They worked us to a standstill. We are heading towards division four and they are one of the top teams in the country. They have older, stronger, fitter players. When fellas see the likes of Pearse O’Neill tearing down at them maybe they panic.
"With Murphy and O’Neill, they have great power and strength coming through the middle. I think if we had retained the ball, it could have helped us though. Our use of possession was poor. We lost our cohesion and the crowd was getting bigger, Cork were getting on top and maybe we didn’t have the same belief."
O’Donnell still believes the future is bright for his young Roscommon side. He reflected on a positive season where they garnered silverware after their Connacht final triumph over Sligo and the county also claimed provincial U21 honours this year.
Players like Peter Domican, Donal Shine and David O’Gara have had impressive seasons, and O’Donnell reckons the experience of playing in a major game in Croke Park will stand to them going forward.
"They worked hard and we are delighted for them to win a Connacht medal. To play in Croke Park was great, our support was great. We just would have liked to make it tighter to the end.
"If we could get a steady team and up the age profile, there is good hope for the lads over the next three years."