Smith: Roscommon embarrassed by Super 8 flop

Roscommon captain Enda Smith concedes he and his team-mates were “embarrassed” by their displays in the Super 8s last season.

Smith: Roscommon embarrassed by Super 8 flop

Roscommon captain Enda Smith concedes he and his team-mates were “embarrassed” by their displays in the Super 8s last season. The Connacht champions will again face Dublin and possibly Tyrone in the All-Ireland quarter-final phase, looking to make amends for losing their three group matches last year.

Beaten by 18 points having conceded 4-24 in the opening round to Tyrone in Croke Park, Donegal came to Dr Hyde Park and won by seven points before a second-string Dublin side saw them off by 14 points in their final game in GAA HQ where they again coughed up 4-24.

As Roscommon prepare for the visit of Cavan or Tyrone to Dr Hyde Park on Saturday week, Smith is desperate for the team to give a better account of themselves.

“It was just real frustration and we were embarrassed by how it went. As players we really had to reflect on ourselves.

You can talk about management or whatever but a lot of the same players are there this year and we are just looking to really represent ourselves a lot better than we did last year. If we don’t, the players really need to look at ourselves and go from that.”

They were in freefall after the Tyrone game having been seven points behind at halftime. “We played Armagh a week earlier and it was a freeflowing game, everyone talking about it. Great game or whatever.

“You are confident going in. I think we started quite well (v Tyrone), we were going quite well. It was actually a mistake from myself, a kick pass that led to Niall Sludden getting a goal. That just shows you, when you make a small bit of a mistake against these lads, they counter you, and that was kind of the waterworks opened after that goal and we never got back into it.

Anthony Daly reviews the hurling weekend with Brian Hogan, TJ Ryan and Ger Cunningham. In association with Renault - car partners of the GAA.

“It kind of set the tone for the rest of our Super 8s campaign that year. Donegal beat us by six or seven, but it was a comfortable six or seven, and obviously Dublin gave us a bit of trimming as well. It was a steep learning curve.

“If you are in Croke Park and you are playing , it ’s where you want to be playing your football, but it’s the worst place to be when you are getting a bad beating like we were getting. As a player you are thinking, ‘am I off this, am I doing the right thing here. I think I am’. Like last week after Armagh, ‘Jesus, I am g o i n g we l l ’ a n d t h e n t wo weeks later it changes just like that.

“It’s a serious time. You are thinking, ‘I don’t want to be put in this position again’. I know embar rassment is a strong word but it definitely felt like that.”

Kevin McStay departed as manager following the Dublin g ame to be eventually replaced by Anthony Cunningham and the transition has been a triumph as much as they were relegated from Division 1.Smith didn’t know Kiltoombased Cunningham until he met him by chance last June at a work event .

Aidan O’Rourke was quite close to getting it and that fell off in the end. On the Friday evening, there was a meeting and murmurs that it was going to be Anthony. I was ringing other players finding out who was going to be involved and you are finding out different pieces and feedback was good.

“Initially, you want to make your own assumption, we met him the following week and the vibe was good. We knew what he was about, he surrounded himself with a lot of good lads there, lads who I worked with before at underage level so we were happy from the get-go.

“He gets the best out of lads but he seems to be extremely fair with how he has gone about his business. There’s lads who were on the fringes and hadn’t really been getting a look-in, but he has given them a chance and they have proved themselves. He has given them a chance and he has really stood by them. The likes of Conor Hussey and lads like that.”

Winning a second Nestor Cup in three seasons, Smith feels Roscommon are gaining more respect but not as much as they would like. That Dublin and Tyrone are already being discussed as the Group 1 table-toppers proves his point.

“I think it’s slowly getting there, I don’t think it’s there yet and it’s probably down to ourselves because our consistency hasn’t been there. I suppose you can’t stop what people say. But I wouldn’t be ruling out Cavan in that game either. From our point of view it’s fine by us, we are similar to Monaghan in that we are a smaller county but we give it our best shot and we will do that on Saturday week.”

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