Mayo captain Stephen Coen with the cup after his side's victory in the Connacht FBD League final against Roscommon at the University of Galway Connacht GAA Air Dome, Bekan. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / Sportsfile

Mayo manager says there's no harm in winning silverware after FBD success

“There's no harm in winning the silverware that's on offer at all,” said Mayo manager Kevin McStay after watching his team defeat Roscommon by 0-13 to 0-9 at the University of Galway Connacht GAA Air Dome.

McStay, who gave starts to Enda Hession and Diarmuid O'Connor and introduced Aidan O'Shea and Cillian O'Connor during the second half of yesterday evening's encouter, said the team's mood and morale is helped by winning trophies.

Regarding the performance, which was less than stellar in what was a dull encounter, the manager stated: “It was a bit patchy, I've no problem with that (assertion), but there were lots of things we as a management were very pleased with. The effort by all the boys was excellent and some of the play by a handful was top drawer stuff, and that's why we won it.”

He added: “I think you're aware we're in a block of training for the last two or three months with a view of trying to be ready for the league in a week's time, so this is a rung on the ladder, if you like. It's an important one because it's a final, and once we were in the final we agreed that we wanted to win it.”

Mayo were never in arrears in this game. They enjoyed a three points to no score lead by the start of the second quarter, Fionn McDonagh, Ryan O'Donoghue (free) and Diarmuid O'Connor (45') all on target.

Roscommon were wasteful (especially in the second half) and they had to wait until the 21st minute for their first score, a fine point by Niall Daly following a slick move, and by the time Diarmuid Murtagh dissected the posts for their second score in injury time at the end of half, Mayo had added two more to their tally through O'Donoghue, with a free and a mark.

The play improved at the start of the second half, with Roscommon substitutes Conor Cox and Donie Smith making an impact, both scoring two points each before the end of the game.

They kicked too many wides, however, and the closest they came to Mayo was two points (0-8 to 0-10) with four minutes plus injury time remaining and the Green and Red down to 14 players following the dismissal of Rory Brickenden on a second yellow.

That's when Mayo dug in, with Cillian O'Connor nailing a free and a point from play either side of a Conor Loftus effort.

Roscommon's Peter Gillooly scored with the final kick of the game to leave it 0-13 to 0-9 in Mayo's favour at full-time.

Aidan O'Shea returned to the Mayo team last night, coming on during the second half of the Connacht FBD League final against Roscommon. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / Sportsfile

O'Connor's free was just Mayo's second of that second half, O'Donoghue landing the other on 40 minutes. Elsewhere there were some great scores from play by Conor McStay, Enda Hession, Jordan Flynn and Stephen Coen.

Coen, who captained the team, wasn't overly impressed with the display, despite the victory. “A bit slobbery, messy,” was his assertion.

He added: “For such a good surface we made it look messy. We were slow to transition early on, which allowed them to get numbers back, we missed a few key chances, which would have made us more comfortable at half-time.

“I just thought some of our touches were off compared to last week (against Galway), when we were a lot more intense. But we'll take the learnings and move into next week.”

The 'next week' he references is the start of the Allianz National League, with Mayo's Division 1 campaign kicking off against Galway at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park on Saturday (January 28).

Looking ahead to that, the manager said: “What we have as a management now is a big group of players who have done the work in pre-season, who are healthy, who are mad for road, who want to make the matchday 26, who want to make the starting 15 – and that's great, that's all I can ask. We're going to sit down and give everybody a fair hearing but we've a fair idea where we're going with this.”

Mayo: Colm Reape; Jack Coyne, Rory Brickenden, Enda Hession (0-1); Donnacha McHugh, Conor Loftus (0-1), Stephen Coen (0-1); Jordan Flynn (0-1), Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1, 45'); Fionn McDonagh (0-1), Bob Tuohy, Bryan Walsh; Aiden Orme, Conor McStay (0-1), Ryan O’Donoghue (0-04, 3f, 1m).

Subs used: Jack Carney, Aidan O’Shea, Eoghan McLaughlin, Paul Towey, Sam Callinan, Cillian O’Connor (0-2, 1f), Ruairí Keane, Ethan Gibbons, Fenton Kelly, Joe Tuohy.

Roscommon: Conor Carroll; Conor Hussey, Conor Daly, Eoin McCormack; Robbie Dolan, Brian Stack, Niall Daly (0-1); Rúáidhrí Fallon, Keith Doyle (0-1); Cian Glennon, Ciaráin Murtagh, Dylan Ruane; Diarmuid Murtagh (0-2), Ciarán Lennon, Paul Carey.

Subs used: Donie Smith (0-2), Conor Cox (0-2, 1f), Adam McDermott, Darragh Heneghan, Connell Kennelly, Colin Walsh, Ben O’Carroll, Paul McGrath, Peter Gillooly (0-1), Dylan Gaughan.

Referee: Michael McGirl (Leitrim).