Fergal O’Donnell relishing link up with Kevin McStay in Roscommon role

Former Roscommon captain and manager Fergal O’Donnell admits he is delighted to be taking charge of his native county with Kevin McStay.

Fergal O’Donnell relishing link up with Kevin McStay in Roscommon role

But the former midfielder is refusing to be drawn into talk of it being the ‘dream team’ for the Rossies.

O’Donnell managed Roscommon to their last Connacht title in 2010 and joins ex-St Brigid’s All-Ireland winning manager McStay on the ticket, but says he is well versed as to the ‘fickle’ nature of management — especially considering the crisis that has enveloped Mayo football in the past week. O’Donnell admitted he was excited about the challenge of leading Roscommon into their first Division 1 campaign since 2003, but he knows attitudes and perceptions of the dream team will change quickly if result don’t go their way.

“People put these terms on you. And after you see what’s happening in Mayo at the minute... it’s very fickle in management and people’s perceptions.

“This time last year, Eamon Fitzmaurice was a guru and a genius and the top tactical man in the county, and this year they are queering the team he picked in the final.

“And equally now, Jim Gavin because he employed Cian O’Sullivan as a sweeper, is the top man. So it changes very much and we’ll know where we are when we get into the league,” said O’Donnell, whose appointment with McStay was due to be rubberstamped last night.

As a close friend of former manager John Evans, O’Donnell says he has great sympathy for the Kerry man he will replace. And while Roscommon’s championship defeats to Sligo and Fermanagh forced the change, O’Donnell said he thought Evans deserved another year in the job and that the players need to look at their own championship performance.

“I would be a personal friend of John Evans and I would feel sorry for the him and the way it happened. He did great work. When he took the job if you’d known they’d be in Division 1 now, at the time they’d have taken that.

“He was probably unfortunate that the game against Fermanagh on the back of the Sligo game, people felt it was time for a change.

“I would say that John Evans wasn’t on the pitch in the last 15 minutes. We’ll be asking players as well — people judge management — but players have to be accountable as well. I have huge sympathy and I would feel that maybe he was entitled to another year. But unfortunately that’s the way it worked out, we’re there now and we just have to work on,” he told Shannonside FM.

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