Anthony Cunningham delighted with Roscommon's courage
By Cian O'Connell
It was a Roscommon success coated in character and courage which pleased manager Anthony Cunningham.
Trailing by five points at the turnaround Roscommon were under duress, but the response was emphatic.
After the restart Roscommon outscored Galway by 1-8 to 0-2 ensuring wild celebrations greeted the deserved victory at Pearse Stadium.
"In the second half we showed tremendous courage," Cunningham admitted. "You would have to use the word courage. They really went for it.It was looking a bit rocky there 10 minutes before half time. We dropped off and Galway punished us.
"Any of these top teams, they just nailed on five points. And if the wind came up that was going to work against us as well. We just asked that they worked harder."
The interval message was simple according to Cunningham. Just to play with a bit more intelligence on the ball," Cunningham stated. "I think we forced it in the last 10 minutes of the first half. Just to get back to our game plan and stick with it and look to attack up front.
"We had a lot of turnovers against us in the first half. Conditions were tough. We needed to settle down and show more composure. We had a chat about it at half-time and got to the pitch of the game and competed a lot more for kick outs. We put a lot more pressure on Galway.
Roscommon claimed a second Connacht title in three years at Pearse Stadium on Sunday.
Defeating Mayo and Galway means it was a particularly sweet provincial triumph for Rosccommon. The level of support that Roscommon got in Mayo the last night was huge, and probably a few more travelled," Cunningham commented.
"They are passionate supporters. But I think in the Lleague they really got behind this team and but for one or two scores and one or two pieces of action we were unlucky not to stay up. I'm delighted for the players."
Roscommon were injected with confidence following the triumph over Mayo according to Cunningham. "Weve a good bit of improvement to do as you will probably tell me," Cunningham laughed. "And youre right. But we will settle down not after a few days and focus on the Super Eights.
The Mayo match was a great confidence boost and when we were in trouble there they went back to that reservoir and said: we have done this before. "We havent conceded a goal yet. We were rocked by Galway there and they are a top class team. Kevin has done tremendous work and they have been standard bearers in Connacht as much as Mayo.
"And when you do get rocked it is very hard to coach or teach that. You are just hoping that their character will respond.
Right through the Daly brothers, Conor Hussey, Shane Killoran midfield, Tadhg O'Rourke there with a great catch at the end. So the middle third and then we used the ball more intelligently up front. And Diarmuid Murtagh slipped a goal which really put is in the driving seat.
A defiant Roscommon weren't going to be denied.