Finneran: No complaints, Meath a step ahead
Following his side’s crushing All-Ireland Intermediate Championship semi-final defeat to Meath at Nowlan Park on Saturday, Roscommon ladies football manager admitted they were beaten by a better side on the day.
“They’re [Meath] a really strong team and for us to have gotten the better of them today, we’d have needed all the tight calls. Things like that to go for us and instead they went against us. The penalty I thought was debatable. Not to give out about it because Meath, in fairness, were just a step ahead of us today,” Finneran acknowledged after the game.
“Every time we battled back into the game, where we thought we might get a foothold, they did seem to get a goal. They picked a superb goal there, their last goal. Just when I thought maybe if we bang a goal with 15 minutes to go, we could mount a comeback. Instead they go down the field and score a wonder goal. They’re an excellent team and fully deserved winners today.”
Despite coming up short at the semi-final stage for a second year in succession, the Roscommon squad can reflect positively on the way 2019 has panned out overall. Consecutive wins over Leitrim and Sligo guided them towards a Connacht title, while Offaly and Kildare were also accounted for on their road to the penultimate round.
“The girls would have loved to have gotten to Croke Park and competing for an All-Ireland title. That’s not to be. Overall, you’d have to say we’ve had a good championship. A really good run winning Connacht, we’ve been good in the All-Ireland series up to this,” Finneran said.
“A really good performance against Kildare the last day. A lot more highs than lows. Overall, I’d have to say quite happy but disappointed to fall at this hurdle now. We felt there was more in us. We’ve just come up a small bit short.”
Whereas their opponents on Saturday will be plying their trade in Division Two of the LIDL National Football League in 2020, Roscommon remain a tier below them moving into the new year.
Finneran believes promotion through the NFL can be the key to their evolution as a championship team and with the depth of the squad increasing year-by-year, this appears well within their grasp.
“There’s a great panel there. We got a lot of new players into the panel this year. It’s a strong panel, stronger in depth than it was last year. The girls are in a position to push on. The next step would be to get up in the leagues. We’re going to have to get these girls up to Division Two to be competing at All-Ireland series level here in championship,” Finneran added.