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Roscommon GAA's An Runai's Annual Report 2012

posted 2 Dec 2012, 13:42 by Unknown user   [ updated 2 Dec 2012, 13:42 by Colm Beirne ]

Secretary’s Report 2013

 

Án Luan 10ui Nollaig 2012

 

 

Ar dtús ba mhaith liom mo fhior buiochas a gabhail do gach einne a cabhraigh le Coiste Contae Ros Comáin i rith an bhliain seo.

 

As Secretary it is my privilege to present to you my report on the activities of Cumann Lúthchleas Gael in Roscommon over the past year.

2012 was a very successful year for Roscommon teams on the field of play. Our Senior footballers may not have collected any silverware but they did consolidate their position in Division Three of the Allianz League in their first year back up. Our Under 21 team reached the All-Ireland Final, our Minor team captured a Connacht League and Championship double and our Under 16 team won the Tedd Webb Shield final. Dr Hyde Park hosted as many games in 2012 as had been there for the previous five years. All in all, a very busy year with many reasons for satisfaction and also some “food for thought”.

 

Inter County Football

 

F.B.D. League

 

The F.B.D League was the first competitive action of 2012 and provided an ideal opportunity for new manager Des Newton and his selectors Enon Gavin and Ian Daly to prepare for the upcoming Allianz League. With many injuries and some of the panel committed to playing with their colleges, Des and his management team were always going to find this a difficult competition. The opening game in the competition against G. M. I. T in Ballyforan yielded just one point and this was followed by defeats away to Leitrim and at home to Mayo. This could be viewed as a very disappointing outcome but with new management and some new players on board it provided a good platform in advance of the Allianz League.

 

F.B.D League Results

 

  • Roscommon 1–11    G. M. I. T    2–8
  • Roscommon 1–5      Leitrim        1–8
  • Roscommon 1–9       Mayo         0–14

 

Allianz League

Division Three of the Allianz League was never going to be easy and so it proved. The management and panel had prepared diligently in the hope of not just securing Division Three status but of gaining promotion. An opening round victory over Tipperary followed by a good away win against Offaly generated optimism but further home wins against Cavan and Antrim were offset by losses to Longford, Wexford and Sligo which consigned Roscommon to Division Three football again for 2013.

 

Allianz League Results

 

Roscommon 1–12   Tipperary 0–12

Roscommon 0–12          Offaly 1–6

Roscommon 2–8      Longford 0–16

Roscommon 1–10         Antrim 1–6

Roscommon 1–10     Wexford 1–12

Roscommon 1–17         Cavan 1–12

Roscommon 0–12           Sligo 1–12

 

 

 

 

Connacht Senior Championship

After the Allianz League campaign a first round Championship game against Galway in Dr Hyde Park was the challenge ahead. Preparations and training went well and indications were that a victory against Galway was achievable. Unfortunately on the day Galway put on an exhibition and ran out easy winners on a scoreline of Roscommon 0–10, Galway 3–15.

 

All-Ireland Qualifiers

Players and management regrouped and waited for the qualifier draw which pitted us against Armagh. Six weeks after elimination from the Connacht Championship the team gave one of the best performances of the year to record a 1–9 to 1–11 victory over a more fancied Armagh in Dr Hyde Park. Two weeks later Tyrone were the visitors to the Hyde and on that day we exited the Championship against the same opposition and by the same margin as 2011.

It was by any standards a very disappointing Championship campaign which generated much debate throughout the county. The disappointment of supporters is understandable but both players and management were equally disappointed. They had trained diligently from January giving up many hours, sometimes in very poor weather conditions; only too see their efforts come up short. We are grateful to Des Newton, Enon Gavin, Ian Daly, Jimmie Barrett their entire backroom team and the panel of players for their efforts during the year.  In September Des Newton met with the executive committee and after some deliberation decided to stand down as manager.

 

Connacht Championship Result

 

Roscommon 0–10 Galway 3 – 15

 

Qualifier Results

 

Roscommon 1–11 Armagh 1–9

Roscommon 0–8   Tyrone 1–16

 

Connacht Junior Championship

We were scheduled to play Leitrim in the Connacht Junior Championship on 11th May. Many of the Senior and Under 21 panels were eligible to play but because it was scheduled on the only one weekend between the Under 21 All-Ireland final and the first round of the Connacht Championship the county management committee in conjunction with team management decided to withdraw from the competition.

 

Under 21

Nigel Dineen was entrusted with management of the Under 21 team for 2012 and brought on board as selectors Eddie Lohan, Denis Gavin and Basil Mannion. David Casey was involved doing the physical training with Charlie Ward as  kitman.

As usual we were invited to take part in the Hastings Cup along with Cavan, Longford and Leitrim. In the first game was against Cavan we were two points up well into injury time only to concede a goal and lose by one point. We lost the next game to Longford by two points but in truth we were lucky to be only two behind at the finish. The third round against Leitrim was irrelevant as both teams had lost their opening games so Roscommon and Leitrim played the Shield Final in Rathcline. Many of the panel were training with the Senior team on the day which gave some of the fringe players a chance to prove their worth. A six point half time lead was no more than they deserved but in a poor second half we were lucky to hold on for a draw. Extra time followed and after playing some good football we prevailed by six points. We had played two games at the Rathcline venue and it was very nice to get an email from the Secretary of the Rathcline club thanking both the team and management for the excellent way they vacated the dressing rooms and showers, leaving them perfectly clean.

 

 

 

Hastings Cup Results

 

  • Roscommon 1–11  Cavan 1–12
  • Roscommon 0–9  Longford 0–11

Shield Final

 

·  Roscommon 0–19  Leitrim 0–12

(After Extra Time)

 

Championship

In the opening round of the Connacht Championship we hosted Mayo in a game played under lights in Kiltoom. After an excellent game a four point win was no more than Roscommon deserved. 

The Connacht final in Hyde Park saw the team record an emphatic eight point win against Sligo to capture a second Connacht title in three years.

Pearse Park, Longford hosted the All-Ireland semi-final against Cavan and after a nail biting contest, at which our supporters were vastly outnumbered, a five point victory paved the way to an All-Ireland Final clash with Dublin in Tullamore.

If we were disappointed with the support in Longford for the semi final then Tullamore more than compensated for this. A huge Roscommon following witnessed a great game where Roscommon matched their illustrious opponents right from the start only to fall agonisingly short at the final whistle.

Everyone in Tullamore that day were justifiably proud of a team that gave everything they had; to lose in those circumstances was no shame and the bitter disappointment among the panel afterwards was evidence of the massive effort put in by all and then to fail so gallantly at the final hurdle. We congratulate Dublin on their win, their strength in depth on the bench proved to be the difference. The Under 21 team, including management and support team, must be sincerely thanked for the massive boost they gave to the entire county during the campaign and they have clearly laid down a marker that Roscommon can live with the best when the effort is made. The same management team are in place for 2013. We wish them well and look forward to a very exciting year ahead for the Under 21 squad.

 

Connacht Under 21 Championship 2012

 

 Roscommon 1–11   Mayo 0 –10

Roscommon 1–13    Sligo 0–8

 

All-Ireland Series

 

Roscommon 2–7   Cavan 2–2

Roscommon 0–11  Dublin 2–12

 

Minor Matters

As is the norm all matters concerning minor football have been dealt with by the Minor Committee at their A.G.M. However we must congratulate everyone involved on their very successful year. Chairman Oliver Kelly, Vice Chairman John McDermott and Secretary Pat Goldrick put in a lot of work and very long hours organising the games and getting them played. A hiccup with one Under 14 semi final did cause some delays; the impasse was sorted and thankfully the game did go ahead, albeit much later than scheduled. Clubs must try to play games as scheduled because any cancellations have a serious knock on effect and can cause unnecessary delays. There were quite a number of games conceded at underage level in 2012 which is a matter of great concern.  There needs to be a serious look at the reasons for those concessions, is it because of shortage of numbers in clubs, is it lack of effort by club officials or could some competitions be scheduled at a better time of year?

 

Winning the Connacht Minor Championship for a second year in a row was a tremendous achievement. The defeat in the quarter final game against Kerry was a huge disappointment when one considers the number of chances created and how superior Roscommon were for the entire game. We thank Gareth Carroll and his entire backroom team for their efforts. They have made an enormous contribution to football in Roscommon, not just in 2012, but with various development squads down the years. We wish them well and hope to see them back at the helm with some team in the not too distant future. While we are disappointed that Gareth has decided to stand down we welcome back Fergal O’Donnell and wish him and his backroom team well in the year ahead. After the defeat to Kerry in the All-Ireland quarter final it was disappointing to read a banner headline suggesting that the team were not properly looked after by our Board na nÓg. Roscommon County Board, Board na nÓg, Coiste Iomana and the Hurling Board pride ourselves in the way we look after our players in all grades, both after training and games. The content of the article did not justify the headline, as it mainly concerned another matter, but the fall out from the headline did untold damage to our reputation for weeks afterwards.

 

Paul Staunton replaced Ciaran Heneghan as manager of the U16 team this year. Paul along with his management team put in a huge effort and the disappointment of not winning the Ted Webb cup was softened by winning the Shield competition. In the Fr Manning Cup, which thankfully reverted to its original format this year, the semi final was played just two days after the Tedd Webb shield final. The Roscommon team were obviously tired and were beaten on the day by a better Longford team. We thank Paul and his management team for their efforts and look forward to working with them in the coming year.

 

Hurling

 

Well done to the Hurling committee under the chairmanship of Anthony Flaherty, Secretary Christy McDermott and Assistant Treasurer Gerry Keane. They continue to put in a huge effort in promoting Hurling in the county and we owe them a great debt of gratitude. I am sure no one will feel aggrieved if I single Christy McDermott out for special mention as he now completes his five year term as Secretary. It was always a pleasure to work with him. He has given great service to Hurling and to the wider GAA community in Roscommon. As the Hurling Board representative on the CCC his contributions were always fair and balanced. I thank you Christy for what you have done and look forward to seeing you involved for many more years in some capacity.

The highlight of the entire year in Roscommon was undoubtedly the winning of the All-Ireland Under 21 B Championship. This was a tremendous achievement and reflects very well on both the officers and management. Well done to all concerned.

I also congratulate Brian Donnelly, Four Roads and Seán Melia, Tremane on being selected on the Nicky Rackard All Star Team for 2012.

Four Roads continue to dominate the local Hurling scene and I congratulate them on winning five Senior Championships in a row; it is a great achievement. 

 

Local Club Scene

 

Leagues

Seamus Sweeney, Diane Dennehy and all C.C.C members must be complimented for the manner in which all competitions have been ran off in 2012. At last year’s Convention we passed a motion which required Leagues be finished by the end of September. This placed extra pressure on the CCC but they did have the three Leagues in question; Division One, Division Two and Division Three completed on schedule. Some clubs did complain about the schedule and the necessity to play games mid week but the deadlines were put in place by the clubs not by the CCC.

St Brigids defeated St Faithleach’s in the Corrib Oil sponsored O’Rourke Cup Final with Castlerea St Kevins and Padraig Pearses being relegated to the O’Gara Cup, for 2013.

Roscommon Gaels beat Tulsk Lord Edwards in the Final of the O’Gara Cup sponsored by John Corcoran Menswear, and both teams are promoted to the O’Rourke Cup for 2013. St Barrys and Oran were relegated to Tansey Cup.

Western Gaels B defeated Clan na nGael B to win the Action Video Productions sponsored Tansey Cup and both teams will play in the O’Gara Cup in 2013.

The Division Four League in the North was only completed last weekend and some clubs have expressed their disappointment at the delay in completing the League in reasonable time - seeing as it commenced in March.

Postponements have caused delays and while postponements at times are inevitable they should only be granted in exceptional cases and within the guidelines set down in our bye laws.

 

Championships

As in 2011 St Brigids brought Championship football to us in February when they took on near neighbours Garrycastle in the AIB All-Ireland Club semi-final. Despite a gallant effort St Brigids were unable to secure a second successive All-Ireland Club Final appearance losing on a score line of St Brigids 1–9  Garrycastle 1–11.

All adult Championships were played on the same format as 2011 which proved to be successful. There are some who would like to see the Championship format changed to two groups of six teams instead of the present system of three groups of four. With our Leagues structured as they are, coupled with the uncertainty of the inter county system, a move to two groups of six would involve a need for extra Sundays which might not be available. If clubs decide to change the format then the need for more mid week games, which are not acceptable to some, will be greater.

 

In the ShannonSide F.M. sponsored Senior Football Championship Western Gaels, Padraig Pearses, St Brigids, St Faithleachs, Clan na nGael and Castlerea St Kevins, qualified for the quarter finals with Roscommon Gaels and Elphin emerging from the third placed play-offs. The semi-finals saw St Brigids beat Elphin and Padraig Pearses beat Roscommon Gaels with St Brigids capturing their third title in a row with a 2–8 to 0–9 win over the 2011 Intermediate Champions. We congratulate St Brigids on this achievement. They have since completed a three in a row of Connacht Senior Club titles. They now have a well earned break but I am sure they will be well prepared for the All-Ireland Semi-final in February; we wish them well. I also congratulate Padraig Pearses on reaching the county Senior Final in their first year back in Senior Championship football. The three teams in the relegation playoff were Kilmore, Kilbride and St Croans with St Croans being relegated and will play Intermediate Championship football in 2013.

 

The George Bannon Sports sponsored Intermediate Championship was played on the same format as the Senior Championship. St Michaels, Clan na nGael, Boyle, Eire Og, St Aidans and Kilglass Gaels  qualifying from the groups with St Barrys and St Dominics emerging from the third placed play offs. St Aidans, St Michaels, St Dominics and Boyle contested the semi finals with St Aidans and St Michaels contesting the final. Like Padraig Pearses in 2011 St Aidans returned to Senior ranks at the first time of asking with a 2–12 to 2–5 win over St Michaels. St Aidans went on to represent Roscommon in the AIB Intermediate Club Championship against Sligo Champions Bunninadden. The manner of their one point defeat in this game will haunt their management, players and supporters for a long time when one considers they entered the final quarter of the game with a twelve point lead. Despite this defeat St Aidans were worthy Intermediate champions who played some excellent football, none more so than on that fateful day against Bunninaden.

 

The Action Video Productions sponsored Junior A Football Championship saw Shannon Gaels, Michael Glaveys, Castlerea St Kevins B, Western Gaels B, St Croans B, Padraig Pearses B, Oran and St Josephs qualify for the quarter finals. In the semi finals Oran beat St Croans and Michael Glaveys beat Padraig Pearses. Oran were crowned champions after beating Michael Glaveys on a score line of Oran 1–8 Michael Glaveys 0–9.

Oran went on to represent Roscommon in the AIB Junior Club Football Championship recording an impressive win over Sligo champions Cloonacool in the semi final before going down to a strong Ballinasloe team in the Final.

 

Finance

The present economic climate has implications for both the board and for clubs. Keeping finances in order is a major task which makes life difficult for our Treasurer as traditional revenue streams have dried up. Joe Gilligan, his assistant Sean Flanagan and the Finance committee continue to work tirelessly to keep finances in order.

The clubs were asked at the start of the year what was there preferred option for fundraising. After some deliberations and consultations it was unanimously agreed that the Members Draw would continue with a slight alteration to the quotas. Quotas would be reduced by one third but clubs would forfeit their commission for selling their quota. All sales in excess of the quota would go to the club. Two clubs, St Dominics and St Croans, took this option as their main Club fundraiser and benefited greatly from this. This year the draw netted in excess of €140,000 which was a major achievement in the present economic climate. The success of the draw is mainly due to the efforts of our Treasurer Joe Gilligan who keeps in constant touch with clubs encouraging them to achieve their targets. I want to thank the clubs for their efforts, without total support for the draw the board would not survive.

 

After originally deciding to go ahead with the Punchestown Fundraiser it was subsequently agreed, in consultation with the newly formed “Club Ros Comáin”  to try a fundraising day at the local Racecourse at Lenabane, Roscommon. This took place on Tuesday evening 7th August and was a resounding success. It was a great social evening with a huge Roscommon GAA support and I believe it has great potential for the coming years.

 

Championship gates have held up well and great credit is due to our gate collectors who continue to make themselves available in rain, hail or sun.

 

I want to express the gratitude of Coiste Contae Ros Comáin to all our Sponsors who continue to support us despite the economic down turn.

At the start of 2012 we were in search of a sponsor for our Senior team. We did not have to go far or wait too long until John Murphy came forward, as he did when the board were in financial trouble in 2005. John and his wife Lily agreed to sponsor the team for a three year period. With nothing to gain personally they used the sponsorship to highlight the Hospice movement which was a very generous gesture. All GAA followers in Roscommon owe a great debt of gratitude to John and Lily and I can only hope that the Hospice movement has benefited from this sponsorship. The Roscommon Herald again sponsored the Under 21 team and thankfully they got a great return on this with the run to the All-Ireland Final. I also say a sincere thank you to Hollybrook, Shannonside F.M; George Bannon Sports; Action Video Productions, Kepak; The Abbey Hotel, Roscommon; John Corcoran Menswear, Corrib Oil, Eurona Brisknet; Campion Insurance; Casey's Centra, Roscommon; The Comfy Café, O’Neills International Sports  and Smithkline Beecham (Lucozade).

I'd also like to thank all those who came on board for our “Sponsor a player” initiative in the lead up to the All-Ireland Under 21 Football Final.

The Hurling Board have traditionally handled their own financial affairs but Croke Park have now issued a directive to County Boards instructing County Treasurers to have total control on all finances, with one cheque book only. Members of the Hurling Board are understandably disappointed with this but they can be assured that they will not lose out on any funding for the promotion of Hurling.

 

Supporters Clubs

A sincere thank you to the Dublin Supporters Club for their continued efforts in Dublin on behalf of Coiste Contae Ros Comáin and particularly Coaching and Games Development in the county. With a growing number of Roscommon natives living in the greater Dublin area there should be potential for an annual major fundraising event in Dublin. We also have Roscommon Associations in many other cities where we should try to organise some fundraising. Last year we had fourteen of our Under 21 panel based in Dublin, mostly students. It was necessary to organise buses to get them to training twice weekly which involved a huge financial outlay. We should liaise with the Supporters Club in Dublin to organise some form of transport which would help to reduce the cost.

 

Here in Roscommon, Brian Carroll, Seamus Donoghue and their committee have done a wonderful job in the promotion of Roscommon, and all GAA activities in the county. This year they organised not one but two presentation banquets to cater for the great success at underage football and Hurling and also for their own annual awards night. They have also sponsored meals for teams after games. Thanks again for your efforts.

 

At the start of the year “Club Ros Comáin” was formed under the chairmanship of Michael Holland with Rosaleen Gallogley as Secretary. They put in place a number of fundraising activities including a Sponsored Cycle, a Bucket Collection and the Race Day at Lenabane. We thank them for their efforts and look forward to “Club Ros Comáin” going from strength to strength.

With two Supporters Clubs and Club Ros Comáin working to help raise funds would it be in order to suggest that all three units meet to discuss a strategy of working together, promoting the same projects where possible and generating a greater awareness of all fundraising activities?

 

County Planning & Physical Development

Under the guidance of Chairman Brian Keenan, Secretary Frank Kenny and County Development Officer Hugh Lynn the development of Club Grounds continues throughout the county. All our grounds are very well maintained and clubs must be complimented for this. Congratulations to St Aidans who won Club Ground of the Year in the bigger club category and to St Barrys on winning the small club ground category.

The following clubs have been allocated grant aid from Connacht Council:

 

Elphin                      €20,000

St Michaels             €20,000

St Croans                €15,000

Oran                           €5,000

Clan na nGael           €3,600

Strokestown              €2,500

Tulsk Lord Edwards €2,000

 

The grants to St Michaels and Elphin are subject to further clarification from both clubs.

The total grant allocation to Roscommon is €68,100, we thank Connacht Council and our representatives for this.

 

St Brigids have completed great work on their grounds and are now an excellent secondary county ground. They have recently purchased adjacent land for three extra pitches. Elphin ,Tulsk Lord Edwards and St. Barrys are also purchasing ground adjacent to their existing pitches and Castlerea St Kevins have acquired ground for a second playing field.

Following on from their success in the Kelloggs “Field of Dreams” competition Kilglass Gaels are in the process of laying a new pitch. Hopefully they will have this work complete early in 2013. St Croans will also be opening their excellent new playing field in the near future.

 

Handball

2012 was a great year for handball with Ireland hosting the World Championships. Roscommon were well represented with some notable success:

Ricki O Gara & Damien Martin from St. Coman's club won the Men's A doubles World Championship.

In the Ladies U-15 one wall competition Fiona Tully, of St. Comans won a silver medal. Fiona was also the winner of the National One Wall U 13 competition.

In the Ladies "A" doubles (40x20) the runner up was Lauren O'Riordan, of St. Comans, partnered by Cianna Ni Currain (Galway)

The winner of the Emerald "B" singles was James Coughlan from the Curraghboy (St. Brigids) club.

We must compliment those who work so hard to keep handball alive in the county. It is good to see them getting their just rewards, with those victories at the World Championships being particular highlights.

 

Coiste Cultúr agus Scór

Our Scór committee continue to promote our Irish heritage and their efforts are always well rewarded. Well done to all those who represented Roscommon at provincial level. In Scór na nÓg congratulations to Aisling Byrne from St Dominics who won the Solo Singing, to Pauric Halpin, St Barrys who won the Recitation and to St Dominics on winning the Ballad Group competition. They represented Roscommon proudly in the All-Ireland Finals but did not feature in the winners enclosure

In the Connacht Scór Sinsear Finals St Dominics won the Ballad Group and Catherine Hanly from Strokestown won the Sean–nós dancing. The St. Dominics group represented Roscommon in the All-Ireland but unfortunately are not successful.

Congratulations also to Mick Rock, Elphin and Thomas Murray, St Dominics who were appointed to the National Scór committee this year.

Some clubs put in a great effort to promote Scór but unfortunately there are a few who do not. I would urge all clubs to at least enter in some of the competitions. It is not compulsory to enter in every category and surely every club has some member who will represent them in some category.

 

Information Technology

I.T officer Jarlath Nolan continues to work closely with clubs and officials to ensure that all I.T matters and problems are sorted. Roscommon is one of the leading counties for use of the designated GAA email system. All club chairpersons, secretaries, treasurers and PROs have a designated address and all GAA correspondence should be done on this system.

 

Coaching & Games Development

Roscommon continues to prosper at underage level on the field of play from the excellent work which continues to be done by the Coaching and Games Development committee under the chairmanship of Coaching Officer Pat Compton and in co operation with Games Manager Willie Hegarty. This same committee has overseen the implementation of the successful Job Bridge Scheme in the county.

 

Schools

All schools in the county, both primary and second level, must be complimented for the great efforts being made to promote Gaelic Games. To Cumann na mBunscoil, the Post Primary Schools Committee, the Staff in the Schools who give freely of their time, to various Club members around the county who go into the schools to give help and to the Coaching and Games Development committee who organise coaches for all schools I say thank you. It is vital that our games are played and promoted in all schools.

 

Garda Vetting

Clubs and all units of the association must continue to be vigilant in ensuring that everyone involved with teams in any way or at any level should complete the Garda Vetting Process. So far clubs have co-operated with this and a huge number of forms have been submitted through Garda Vetting Officer Michael McNeela.

 

A.S.A.P

One of our most diligent officers is our A.S.A.P Programme officer Noel Collins.  Noel continues to promote this worthwhile initiative but unfortunately two projects organised by Noel during the year were poorly supported by the Clubs. All Clubs should ensure they have an active ASAP officer. Noel Collins is available to all clubs at all times with any advice or help they might need.

 

Social Initiative

Tulsk Lord Edwards club man Sean Mannion took on the role of Social Initiative Officer this year and is making steady progress promoting it. Seven clubs in the county have so far signed up and I hope that many more clubs will do so in the coming year. Similar to the ASAP officer, Sean called a meeting in Tulsk recently, brought down the National Coordinator Colin Regan from Croke Park, but the turn out from clubs was pathetic.

 

Referees

Once again our loyal band of referees did a great job in 2012. They do one of the most difficult jobs in the whole association. They are always available and sometimes at very short notice. Sean Martin’s five year term as Referee’s Co-Coordinator came to an end this year and we must acknowledge his contribution over those five years. He was replaced by Peter McHugh, of St Brigids, who has made a very impressive start. I wish him well in this role for the coming five years.

The method of paying referees came under the spotlight nationally this year with the Revenue Commissioners making certain demands. Thankfully a solution was agreed and once a referee submits his PRSI number he has no tax liability from whatever expenses he gets.

 

Coiste Eisteachta

The hearings committee under the Chairmanship of Frank Dennehy continue to do their job quietly and with great dignity. Secretary John Donoghue and members Joe Moore, Peter Lally, Frank Durkin and Seamus Regan deserve great credit for their work. One decision this year was challenged but eventually the hearings committee were exonerated.

 

Strategic Plan

Development Officer Hugh Lynn has taken on the role of overseeing the implementation of the Strategic Plan. Good progress has been made to date with some tasks scheduled in the plan yet to be undertaken. Many clubs have also put in place their own five year plan and many more are currently working on them. Hugh Lynn has been unselfish in giving his time to clubs and is available to all clubs to offer help and advice. Any club wishing to apply for grant aid in future must have their Club Plan in place before they will be considered.

 

Comhairle Connachta

I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the officers of Comhairle Connachta for their help and co-operation during the year; Uachtaran Phrionsias de Buarca, Leas Uachtaran Mícheál Mac Concharraige, P.R.O Tomás O Moráin and Cisteoir Seosamh O Taiffe have been very helpful and supportive during the year; I must say a special thank you to John Prenty, Adrian Hassett, Attracta and Amanda for their help and courtesy at all times. I also say thank you to Seán Martin and John Corcoran who represented Ros Comáin very well on the Council.

 

Pairc an Chrocaigh

I wish to thank all the staff in Pairc an Chrocaigh with whom I had any dealings for the help and courtesy afforded to me during the year; to Bernard Smith and Pat Doherty who were always helpful with fixtures; to Árd Stiurthoir Páraic Ó Dufaigh, Joan Cooney, Theresa Rehill and Fergal McGill I say “Mile Buiochas”. There are also many others with whom I had contact who were always helpful and co operative.

At Congress Christy Cooney completed his three year term as President. I say thank you to Christy for his courtesy and help at all times and we look forward to working closely with Liam O'Neill for the coming three years. Central Council delegate Michael McGuire is a member of Coiste Bánisti and Seamus Maher is a member of the Central Competitions Control Committee.

 

Media

I extend the gratitude of Coiste Contae Ros Comáin to the Roscommon Herald, Roscommon People, Westmeath Independent, Shannonside Radio and Mid West Radio for the excellence of the coverage afforded to us during the year. Their extensive coverage of all our activities is a huge benefit to us and helps greatly with the promotion of our games.

We have a number of photographers who are always very helpful and co operative. To Andrew Fox, Ger O’Loughlin and Michael McCormack I say thank you. Our Oifigeach Chaidimh Poibli, Colm Beirne must also be thanked for his work with all media outlets during the year.  Colm’s courtesy, efficiency and attention to detail mark him out as one of the best P.R.O’s in the country. The County Final programme was the usual excellent production.

 

History

Last year I suggested that we should put in place a History Committee to put together an updated history of Cumann Lúthchleas Gael since its foundation in Roscommon in 1889. I am delighted that this committee is now in place under the chairmanship of Tommie Kenoy. I have no doubt that a thorough History Book will be in place by the 125th anniversary in 2014.

 

General

When Des Newton stepped down as Senior team manager in September chairman Michael Fahey was mandated by Coiste Contae to put a selection committee in place to find a new manager. There was no ultimatum that the new manager had to be from within the county and clubs were requested to submit nominations. Only one club responded with a nomination. Michael consulted widely before selecting Gay Sheeran, Danny Murray and Michael McGuire to help him find a replacement for Des. The two Michaels’, Gay and Danny met, talked, listened, consulted, made phone calls, conducted interviews, travelled the high ways and bye ways over a four week period. From the outset it was said that there would be no comment from the Committee during the process and it was also agreed that they would not discuss what they were doing with the officers of the Board, but consequently this succeeded in annoying some supporters. On the 8th November they came back to a specially convened meeting of Coiste Contae with the name of John Evans for ratification. John was unanimously ratified as Senior team manager for a two year period, an appointment that has generally been well received throughout the county. Gay Sheeran and Walter Burke are the two selectors and I wish the entire management team well in their new roles.

 

It would be remiss of me not to pay tribute to our players. The current crop of players who represent Roscommon at every age level in both Hurling and football are a credit to themselves, their clubs and their families. We all see them on the big day, which brings its own glamour, but how many realise the sacrifices they make to turn up on cold and wet winter nights training at least three times weekly. Most of them travel long distances and do not get home before midnight. Thankfully we have very few, if any, who are unemployed but we do have quite a number of students who will soon be graduating and prospects of employment are not great for them. We wish them luck with their studies and can only hope that they will find employment in Ireland. They are excellent ambassadors for our county.

 

Croke Park commissioned Michael Slattery of Slattery & Associates to do an audit of every county ground in the country. Their report on Hyde Park, issued in late 2011, did not make great reading and the result of their findings set the capacity at just over 18,000 although many counties received much worse news. This capacity was adequate for a first round game or a semi final but would not accommodate a Connacht Final.

When Mayo and Sligo qualified for the Connacht Senior Championship final it was always going to be played at a neutral venue with Hyde Park an obvious choice.

If the final was to be played in Roscommon then the capacity would have to be set at a minimum of 25,000, a huge challenge with only two weeks to achieve it. Chairman Michael Fahey in consultation with all the interested parties, i.e. Hyde Park Committee, Roscommon Gaels and Connacht Council set about putting a plan in place. Eamon Collins worked closely with Michael Slattery and tenders were sought. Thomas Connolly submitted the lowest tender and having been awarded the contract had the work complete on time. Thank you to all who worked hard to achieve this. Thanks also to John Prenty and the Connacht Council for their help and support.

 

I must compliment everyone involved in the hosting of the Under 21 Connacht Final, the Senior game v Galway, the Connacht Senior and Minor Finals and three qualifier games in Dr Hyde Park. In fact all Connacht finals, Senior, Junior, Under 21 and minor were played in Dr Hyde Park in 2012!

Special thanks must go to Event Controller Liam Martin; Safety Officer Donie Shine; Chief Stewards Pat Tully and Christy McDermott; the Roscommon Gaels club and Hyde Park Committee all of whom worked tirelessly on the days and the weeks before the games. In the lead up to the games requests were sent to all clubs requesting stewards and I must say a sincere “Mile Buiochas” for your tremendous response. It was great to see such a turn out which proves, if proof were needed, that volunteerism is alive and well in the GAA in Roscommon.

It was unfortunate that on two different occasions, due to misunderstandings, catering was not available for stewards after the games. We fully appreciate that after spending a full day on duty stewards should get food afterwards and we sincerely apologise to those involved for the misunderstandings.

It is a great disappointment to everyone involved that the transfer of ownership of Dr Hyde Park and the purchase of land for a training ground at Runnabracken have not been completed. Both projects are with solicitors and the delays are not caused by anyone involved locally. I sincerely hope both processes will be completed early in 2013.

 

The lease on our Office property has expired and we have entered negotiations with the landlord for a renewal of the lease which we hope will conclude satisfactorily in the near future.

 

In the past I have been critical of County Board Meetings and their contribution to the overall running of the GAA in the county. My opinion has not changed. A full turn out at a County Board would have eighty three people present which, in my opinion, is not manageable in terms of constructive debate and decision making. I believe it would be better if management of the affairs of the board was entrusted to the management committee plus a number of club representatives, five, six or ten, elected at Convention. A quarterly general meeting of all clubs would then suffice. I know that such a change would require a change in our bye laws.

 

This year our implementation, or non implementation, of the Parish Rule has been highlighted by some Clubs. It is a well known fact that while the Parish Rule is in force in the county there are many clubs who have players that are “border line”. There are also some instances where a “gentleman’s agreement” exists between clubs. Many of those unwritten agreements came about in the distant past; no one asks questions but there is always the possibility that an objection could be lodged or an investigation requested. This Convention should put some definite structures in place which will leave no one in doubt as to where any player can legally play football.

 

In Roscommon we have traditionally elected our Hurling Board, Minor Board and Coiste Iomána at their annual Conventions but because of a directive from Croke Park this can no longer happen. With the exception of Divisional Boards, (Northern Board) all other committees must be appointed by the County Management Committee. This is a huge change for those Boards but we must comply with the directive. Whether this change will be for better or not we must wait to find out. Other counties have already implemented this procedure and seem to think it works well. It should in no way change or minimise the efforts and progress being made by the current officers and I am confident that all those committees will work well for the betterment of both Hurling and Football.

 

Distribution of All-Ireland Tickets always brings difficult decisions and this year was particularly so with a neighbouring county involved in both finals. Every ticket allocated went to a worthy recipient but there were many more worthy who did not get one. There is a tradition in Roscommon that past County Board Officers and former players get a ticket. Both categories are worthy recipients but with the numbers increasing I think it is time to revisit this tradition. I must say that my stint as Secretary of the Board should not guarantee me a ticket for life while someone in a club working hard with underage football has no hope of getting one. Our system of distribution is good, there is no perfect system, but no category of member should have a guarantee. The man looking after the U 12 team in the club is doing equally as important a job, if not more important, than I am doing as Secretary.

 

 

Buiochas

On my own behalf and on behalf of Coiste Contae Ros Comáin I want to record my sincere gratitude to all the individuals and committees who ensured the smooth running of the Board over the past year.

I want to say a sincere thank you to all the officers and committee for their contribution to the affairs of Coiste Condae Ros Comáin and for their help and courtesy to me. I must say a special thank you to Chairperson Michael Fahey, Treasurer Joe Gilligan and P.R.O Colm Beirne all of whom I troubled at various times, day and night. James O’Boyle continued as Secretary to the Senior team and I must say his attention to detail is unequalled, thank you James. Thanks also to kit man Tommie Gilligan and camera man Michael Jordan.

Administrator Liam Martin and his assistant Diane Dennehy ensure the smooth running of all the affairs of Coiste Contae in the Office. I want to thank them sincerely for their help at all times and indeed there were times when I sought help at very short notice and unsociable hours.  

Convention this year is hosted by Naomh Caoimhin Cáislean Riabhach in the “HUB” in Castlerea.  I thank them for hosting this Convention and I am confident they will prove themselves worthy and excellent hosts. This continues a recent trend where clubs have volunteered to host Convention; long may this continue.

 

Sympathy

2012 brought its share of sadness and death to many families. To those who suffered bereavements during the year I extend sincere sympathy.

Death at any time or at any age is sad but is particularly sad when tragedy strikes twice to take two young footballers.

The year started with the tragic and untimely death of young Shannon Gaels footballer Andrew Dolan. In August Eoin Lavin, a minor footballer with the Boyle Club, lost his life in a road accident. In the midst of the sadness on both occasions it was gratifying to see both the Shannon Gaels and Boyle clubs being so active, organising guards of honour and helping the families in their hour of need, proving again that the GAA is a great family to be part of.

 

Family

I must say a sincere thanks to Marie for her help and support at all times. She finds herself “home alone” many nights taking phone calls and typing while I attend meetings. To Eleanor, Maeve and Seamus I also say Mile Buiochas for your patience and help.

As there are no nominations for the post of Secretary it looks like I will be here again for 2013 which will be my final year under the five year rule.

I wish all of you, officers, management teams, players and supporters a very happy and peaceful Christmas as we look forward to a successful New Year

 

Rath De oraibh go léir

 

 

Brian Mac Stibhin

Runai

 

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