Gareth Carroll knows as much about Roscommon underage football as anyone else. The former Kilmore senior player is now six years coaching underage players in county Roscommon between his work with clubs and with development squads in the county. This year he steps up to take the county minor manager’s job and is eminently qualified to take over the reins from the very successful Ross Shannon.
Gareth spoke to me this week and told me that with the knowledge that the management team have with regard to the talent available in the county and the number of trial games they have held earlier in the year he is confident that very few if any talented players have slipped through the cracks.
“We have looked at a lot of players, we know most of them and we held plenty of trial games too earlier in the year. It has been a long year and we started on January 1st so we have put a lot of work in.
“This is my 6th year involved in underage coaching between Roscommon Gaels and the county development squads so we have a fair handle on what’s available. Preparation for minor is always stop/start because there are so many players involved with colleges’ football, and of course there is the Leaving Cert too. It is certainly not ideal to be playing a championship match a day or two after lads have finished the Leaving but it is the same for the Leitrim lads and we have to get on with it.
“It was great to win the Connacht minor league and when we set out we certainly had no great designs on winning it. We had so many injuries. We just took one game at a time and in fairness to the players they responded very well and it was nice to win it, but it will have no relevance to the championship whatsoever. Galway and Mayo had a lot of players tied up between college action and other reasons and the same applied to Sligo and Leitrim, so while it was nice to win it, I would not be paying too much attention to it”
“We still have a few injuries but I would rather that we don’t mention any players in particular because it all about the whole panel, and while we have a couple of guys who will not be ready for this weekend, we have been working hard with all the players, and we have to use the fit players available and that’s what we have to focus on”
“Leitrim are a good team and make no mistake about that. In the Connacht minor league they beat Mayo and were only beaten by Galway by a point and they scored more against both those teams than we did, so I can assure you and that we will not be taking them for granted. This will be a very competitive game and that’s for sure”
“Our players have worked very hard and they will be going all out to win this championship game. We cannot be thinking about playing Galway or anything like that. If it happens then that’s great but we are totally focused on this Saturday’s game against Leitrim”
“It is all about the development of Roscommon football. Roscommon have been very competitive at minor level under Gary Wynne, Fergie O Donnell and Ross Shannon too and we want to continue that process. It’s all about developing the players and hopefully they will progress to a higher level. We will be hoping to beat Leitrim this weekend as a further step along the way” he concluded.
Issue dated: 22 June 2012
© Roscommon People