Roscommon joint-manager Kevin McStay is determined the squad can make up for the disappointing championship season of 2015, but feels they still have a bit to go before they can mix up with the leading lights in inter-county football.
McStay, along with former Rossies boss Fergal O’Donnell, headline the new managerial ticket as the Connacht county prepare for life back in the top flight of the league and a summer campaign where sights will no doubt be set on reaching a Connacht decider.
The former Mayo All Star and RTÉ pundit is relishing the challenge ahead in getting his troops focused and ensuring they won't underperform on the big days
Speaking on 2FM’s Game On, McStay said: “We are very much taking the long view on everything we're doing in terms of fitness levels, player development and getting our point of view across. By going that way, we think we'll get a better result than going short term. We're here for three years, with the option of a fourth year.
"It's in all our interest now to stay focussed on the basic building blocks until we get to the championship" - Kevin McStay
"When you look back at last year, Roscommon would have been disappointed with the way things turned out in the championship. They lost to two Division 3 teams (Sligo & Fermanagh) – against two teams they would have felt they were capable of beating - but they were deservedly beaten in both games. They just underperformed. The challenge for us now is that we get ready for a championship where we don't underperform.”
Prior to last year’s championship, previous manager John Evans spoke about Roscommon’s potential to challenge for an All-Ireland title in the short term, but McStay feels the current squad are nowhere near the level that can challenge for September honours.
“I don't think the players could have aspirations of challenging for an All-Ireland, not in the situation we're in at the moment,” he added.
"It's in all our interest now to stay focused on the basic building blocks until we get to the championship.
“We are a Division 1 team, but only in name. We haven't played a Division 1 match in many, many years. This time next year if we're still in the division, then we can call ourselves a Division 1 team. That's where we want to be - a competitive outfit that is well able to live in the top flight. We have to get ourselves ready now to correct the mistakes that were made last summer.”
That said, McStay feels there is much talent at his disposal and that the desire is there to make a real go of things in the months ahead.
“All managements will play to their strengths. We think we have a good footballing team that has a very good skill level.
"We want to play a high-tempo game, where we move the ball on our first touch, by foot preferably, and then play it through the hands when we meet certain types of defences.
"All things being equal, we are going to play to our strengths. We are little bit lacking in size, but we think we’ll make up for that in energy and desire."