GAA: Match Reaction
Evans delights in Rossies’ rise after win over Cavan
ROSCOMMON finished strongly at Croke Park on Saturday evening to secure the Allianz Football League Division Three title following a compelling battle with an ever-improving Cavan.
Roscommon boss John Evans, who previously managed Tipperary to a third-tier success, was delighted that his side were able to come out on top, especially considering the strong start that the Breffni men made to the contest. And Evans was full of praise for David Keenan, who scored the only goal of Saturday’s league decider.
“Looking at it overall, we started poorly. We came back into it point-for-point, and then we got the goal. David Keenan is playing so well this year. We held him off the team and didn’t train him because his back was at him. He has got a new lease of life,” said the Roscommon manager.
“We clawed ourselves out of a hole, we got back in parity and we made a couple of mistakes coming out in defence. We kicked ten wides as well in the first half, and Cavan kicked a few wides. They were under severe pressure, but normally those guys would slot them home. But overall it’s tremendous.”
What made Saturday’s victory all the more impressive was the fact that they were missing several players through injury and U-21 commitments. Evans accepted that this did weaken their hand to a certain extent, but he was just pleased that the available players were able to contribute to the continuing resurgence of Roscommon football.
“We’re down 10 or 11 players there today, because Donall Keane wasn’t fit to play, and neither was Ronan O’Reilly the goalkeeper, but those guys togged just in case we needed.
“It’s just the rise of Roscommon. They are beginning to play football. It’s wonderful to be in a footballing county that has so much passion. One other small little thing is that we knew we were the only ones from Connacht in the play-offs. It did matter to us that the west was going to be awake.”
While the current squad has performed heroically throughout the league, Evans has been keeping a keen eye on the progress of the county’s U-21 outfit. He confirmed that he will be speaking to members of the panel following their upcoming All-Ireland final, as he knows that an injection of youth will be needed for the Championship.
“I’m saying John Evans will be going to the U21 players after next Saturday, and asking a few more of them to join the panel, because we didn’t bring in anybody. We’re down to the bare threads, and we’re hoping that the youth coming into our panel will invigorate us. (It) will lift us that bit further, which you have to. That’s grand for a league final, but it won’t do you in Championship,” Evans added.