A win over his native county delivered immediate silverware to Anthony Cunningham, but he insisted their FBD League final win over Galway was just a box ticking exercise in their preparation for the national league.
Eight points from Donie Smith proved vital in this impressive Roscommon showing, but with a trip to MacHale Park to come next Saturday night in the NFL opener, the real test still awaits.
Two games into his tenure as manager, it is clear that Cunningham has worked hard on Roscommon’s defensive shape, and the three points from play that Galway kicked adds to that belief. There was also an obvious hard edge to Roscommon, with players regularly involved in heated exchanges with the Galway team, an attitude that will certainly please Roscommon supporters.
“For us it’s just the piece of work we’re doing before next weekend’s league match. It was a satisfactory performance and they showed a bit of mettle there today, but we still have a long way to go,” said Cunningham
“The lads are able to play, there is no doubt about it, it’s just coaching and practicing and getting that bit cuter.
“You have got to learn these things. You can’t train for a lot those things and practice a lot of those things because you get a sucker punch but it’s how you react. It’s massively competitive and they’re going to have to learn.”
A good first-half against the wind saw Roscommon lead by 0-6 to 0-4 at half-time, and after Barry McHugh goaled to level, Cunningham’s side pulled clear with Donie Smith the chief dangerman.
This was a game that was pockmarked with flash points – one red to Galway’s David Wynne, four black cards and 13 yellows were shown by Liam Devenney – and the referee certainly wasn’t helped by either team.
“To be honest I would say we are maybe a bit disappointed in our own side, there might be a bit of a softer edge in our own performance,” said Kevin Walsh.
“They have done the basic right and that wasn’t good enough.”