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Roscommon boss Anthony Cunningham blasts officials over 'really poor' back door decision


Anthony Cunningham. Credit: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Anthony Cunningham. Credit: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Anthony Cunningham. Credit: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Padraic Joyce carried the satisfied look of a manager whose team got the job done, while fully realising that yesterday’s squelch-fest triumph was, in fact, only one half of their provincial mission.

If Galway lose the next day, the consolation of a deserved but forgettable 2-11 to 0-12 semi-final win over Roscommon won’t dull the pain remotely.

Galway were just ahead at the midpoint, 1-5 to 0-7, but the X factor provided by Shane Walsh, the Kelly brothers and rising star Matthew Tierney ultimately made for a relatively straightforward five-point win.

Tierney’s 66th-minute goal — a left-footed, angled finish, in off the far post — killed any remaining hint of a Rossie comeback.

Thus, Galway advance to a Connacht final on July 25 that will, barring a Leitrim miracle, come against the old Mayo enemy, while for the second year running, the Rossies’ SFC race is run after just 70 minutes.

Some speculation will focus on Anthony Cunningham after a deflating third year with Roscommon that included top-flight relegation. Whatever the future holds — and the former Galway hurling boss still has a year to run — he is adamant that football has been short-changed by Croke Park in the Covid era.

“I couldn’t believe it when we didn’t get a back door,” he complained.

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“In a normal year we would be out again next Sunday and I think the officials got that completely wrong. For the promotion of our games, there has to be more games and less training.

“Straight knockout for football is really, really poor.

“We see group stages in other sports week in, week out — be it rugby, soccer, whatever — and in hurling where you’ve got the back door. I think it’s really poor, and the GAA are going to lose a footing really if they don’t have more games.”

For his opposite number, this was a timely return to the winning paddock after their recent Division 1 relegation play-off extra-time loss to Monaghan.

“We left the game behind us and there is no two ways about that ... we were five points up and we should have closed it out with five minutes to go,” he reflected.

“We had training the following Tuesday night, we discussed it for 10 minutes and then we parked it and moved on.

“At the end of the day, it is all about championship; no one remembers what happens in the league last year or the year before.”

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