Though the All-Ireland champions netted five times in their semi-final win over Leitrim champions St Mary’s, McHale was less than happy with their finishing.
“We should have scored 10-25, or 10-20,” said the former Ballina and Mayo midfielder. “We missed four or five goal chances that annoyed me, because we do a lot of work on that.
“If we get four goal chances on Sunday, which we normally do, then we have to score two or three of those. It’s vital that we are on form when it comes to taking our goal chances.”
McHale has a massive insight into Castlebar Mitchels from his club playing days. “Castlebar and Ballina would have had a great rivalry over the years so it’s nice to keep that going! I played in my first county final in 1985 and once we took to the field that day, we never believed for one minute that we were going to lose. It had been 19 years since our previous victory but that didn’t matter, we were the Stephenites and that was what we do, we win county finals. As it transpired we won five out of seven, even when Crossmolina and Knockmore were at their best.
“Our mindset was that the difficult thing was getting to the county final. Once we got there, we were convinced we’d win. I expect Castlebar would have the same attitude, they’re another town team and they’ll be 100% sure they’ll be good enough to win this Connacht final, they will travel with confidence. I think Castlebar will relish the fact that Brigid’s are All-Ireland champions and they’ll see this as a massive opportunity to get into an All Ireland semi-final and beat the champions on the way.”
The Roscommon champions appear to be coming into form at the right time after they stumbled through their domestic championship, winning both their quarter-final and semi-final ties by just a point.
However, McHale feels that his players have shown ability in every game, but now it’s about sustaining those strong spells and in particular, defending with intensity.
“We’ve been brilliant in every game and we’ve been poor in every game,” surmised McHale.
“That was the case against Tourlestrane and Mary’s as well, but in the case of those games, we were better for long periods and hopefully that trend will continue, and we can play well for big chunks of the Connacht final.
“We’re at a stage now where I’m completely confident that our offence will be all right, it’s our defence in these big games that will be critical.
“If we defend properly and turn defence into offence quickly, we’ll get enough scores to win the game. However sometimes we don’t defendproperly, we allow teams to post a total on us and when we do that, we’re just ordinary.”