'It's easy to look at fundraisers and blame them but players have to look at each other'

Cathal Cregg says Roscommon need to learn from their lucky escape in New York and start producing acceptable performances.

Cregg in action against New York.
Cregg in action against New York.
Image: Ed Mulholland

AFTER RIDING THE crest of a wave in reaching the league semi-finals, Roscommon came crashing back down to earth in New York and Cathal Cregg admits the players may have taken their foot off the pedal.

The Rossies were given the scare of their lives a fortnight ago in the Connacht football championship opener as New York came agonisingly close to making history in the Bronx.

Just one point separated the sides in the end as the visitors stumbled across the line and made the return journey across the Atlantic with their championship hopes on life support.

While Cregg insists the result supersedes the performances, he says there is a lot of work to do in preparation for their next assignment against Leitrim on 22 May.

“I suppose there was a lot of doom and gloom around the game but ultimately we went out to win the game and we won the game,” he said yesterday.

“It probably wasn’t the way everyone expected us to win it but we got a win and that’s what we went out for.

“There was a lot of hype surrounding the league. We did an awful lot better than everyone expected us to do, we were expected to go straight back down to Division 2.

A view of the Gaelic Park The Rossies stumbled over the line and managed to keep their championship hopes alive. Source: Ed Mulholland/INPHO

“Maybe that got to us, I’m not quite sure. There is a lot of players out at the minute that were big players for us early in the league.

“We didn’t put in the performance we had hoped for so we’ll have to change it around the next 10 days to get a result against Leitrim.”

How quickly the tides can change. Roscommon emerged as the surprise package from the league campaign, winning four games en route to the semi-finals.

Victory in Cork was the standout result and performance but defeats to Mayo, Dublin and then the heavy last four reversal at the hands of Kerry dented confidence.

Going to New York is never easy but Cregg says he and his team-mates can’t use any excuses to justify the level of their performance.

“It was my third trip over,” he continued. “I went the first year, and that was hard enough, And like London last year, it’s a no-win situation, and generally not that easy.

“Like Mayo got it hard in London a few years ago, Galway had it hard in New York. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

“It’s unusual, you are spending a couple of days in a hotel. Lads aren’t used to it. They name a panel of 42 and they have a lot of very good players and you don’t know what they are going to play or who they are going to play.

Cathal Cregg celebrates scoring a point Cregg was speaking at Croke Park at the launch of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“It was pouring rain on the day so there was a lot of variables. We missed a lot of goal chances and you can’t do that at any level and luckily we weren’t punished fully for it which we could have been.”

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Fundraising events are always staples of any overseas itinerary and this four-day trip was no different with players attending two separate functions.

When asked whether off-the-field activities were a distraction, Cregg added: ”It’s easy to look at fundraisers and blame them but players have to look at each other and ask did we prepare ourselves well enough.

“I thought we were well prepared going into the game but these things happen and look we won the game and that’s what we went out to do.

“I’d say it’s expectations are well and truly dampened now – but Roscommon supporters are great. Even after the game in New York there wasn’t a whole pile of negativity around it.

“We’ve been very fortunate over the last couple of years with the great support we’ve gotten. I’m sure in two weeks time down in Leitrim the support will be great again.

“But we need to start putting some performances together to give them something to shout about. Because the last couple of games have been disappointing for us.

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