Convention 2022: Finances stable but challenging times ahead

The 2022 Roscommon County Board Convention took place in the Abbey Hotel on Tuesday evening. Those in attendance were informed that while finances remain in a healthy position, Roscommon GAA could be faced with a number of serious challenges going forward in relation to rising costs and the development of Dr. Hyde Park.

€4m Hyde Park upgrade to continue ‘in phases’

In a wide-ranging address to convention, Chairperson Brian Carroll addressed a number of issues that the County Board will have to deal with in the short-term, especially with regard to Dr. Hyde Park and the proposed Centre of Excellence.

Commenting on proposed upgrades at Dr. Hyde Park, the Chairperson said: “We had a €4m project ready to go. Planning permission was fully granted and we had €1m of our own money and had secured a loan of €2m and were hoping to get €1m from the GAA nationally and at Connacht level but they were not in a position to come up with that funding. The result is that we will have to divide up the project into phases now”.

The Chairperson outlined a number of separate issues that require attention on Dr. Hyde Park.

“There are a number of issues in the main stand with regard to the roof and the seating. The perimeter wall around the stadium will also have to be rebuilt and then there is a safety issue with the concrete seats in front of the stand,” he said.

“We will either have to replace those seats or take them out of use altogether. We will have to replace all the seats in the main stand and we also hope to put in new dugouts as well and a new electronic scoreboard.

“We are hoping to start those works as early as January 2023. We have received funding of €225,000 from the GAA for seating in the stand and a Government grant of €117,000”.

Progress has also been made in the Dermot Earley Centre of Excellence: “We have a deposit paid for the land and we will now meet with Roscommon County Council with regard to planning,” he continued.

“Phase one will include the provision of three fully floodlit pitches and ancillary buildings as well which will provide badly needed facilities for all our county players. We have also kitted out a gym at Lanesboro Road, Roscommon at a cost of €250,000”.

With regard to the performance of the Roscommon senior team in 2022, he said that it was “a year of two halves”.

“The league campaign was very good and the highlight was winning the Division Two title in Croke Park, beating All-Ireland finalists Galway,” he said.

“However, our championship campaign wasn’t so good. While we beat Sligo, we were a little bit off and while we didn’t play well in the Connacht final we were still in the game with five minutes to go. All you can say about the Clare game is that we had it won and we still managed to lose it. That result put a dampener on the seniors’ year”.

Carroll also praised all players that put on a Roscommon jersey and put in the effort to train and take pride in the Primrose and Blue. He praised the efforts of all clubs and especially Pádraig Pearses and St. Faithleach’s, who won Connacht titles at senior and intermediate grades this year.

He congratulated the fixtures committee and looked forward to the new senior championship structure in 2023.

“We will need all clubs and especially those in the south of the county to put their shoulders to the wheel to make this new format a success,” he said.

He praised the efforts of Treasurer David O’Connor and Club Rossie who have ensured that the finances of the board are in a healthy state.

“There will be another fundraising draw coming in 2023 and we will want all clubs to cooperate to ensure that it’s another success,” he added.

The Chairperson concluded by thanking all the officers for their work and wished administrator Stephen Ormsby the best of luck as he leaves the post in the next few weeks for pastures new.

Costs continue to rise

Treasurer David O’Connor presented his annual report to the convention, and said the County Board’s finances continue to be in a healthy position while the accounts for 2022 showed a small loss of €14,151 over the year.

Those figures do not include gate receipts from the county senior football final which saw a bumper crowd attend the match between Strokestown and Boyle. Gate receipts were well up in 2022 rising to over €300,000 following two tough years of Covid-19.

Team administration expenses went up from €513,052 in 2021 to €1,007,012 in 2022 and that figure includes travelling expenses of €436,300.

The accounts show that a deposit of €47,500 has been paid for lands outside Roscommon town for the new Centre of Excellence. The total purchase price for the land is €480,000.

The auditor, in her report, noted that costs continue to rise and this is a continuing concern for the County Board. However, the cash at bank heading was still healthy and that, she said, will be very positive when it comes to capital projects in the future.

Treasurer David O’Connor said in terms of finance, serious challenges lay ahead for the County Board.

“Team and player expenses continue to grow and with all other costs increasing in the general economy, it could prove to be a major problem going forward,” he said.

“It has been December 2020 since we had a major fundraiser and Pat Compton and his committee will have proposals for another major fundraiser for 2023 and we will all have to put the shoulder to the wheel to make that a success,” he concluded.

Connacht Council appointments 

There was just one election as four candidates stood for two positions on the Connacht Council following Hugh Lynn’s appointment as Connacht Council PRO. The candidates were Enda Walsh (Kilbride), Gerry Keegan (Creggs), John Carty (St. Aidan’s) and Seamus Nugent (Kilglass Gaels).

The total poll was 137 with the quota of 46. The first count result was: John Carty 38, Gerry Keegan 31, Seamus Nugent 40, and Enda Walsh 28 (eliminated). Second count: John Carty (+18) 56, Seamus Nugent (+6) 46, and Gerry Keegan (+4) 35. Therefore, John Carty and Seamus Nugent were elected.

Club Rossie fundraiser 

Chairperson of Club Rossie, Pat Compton, informed the convention of their latest fundraiser in 2023. There will be a draw for a prize fund of €200,000 with €100,000 first prize with a number of lower cash prizes on offer too. The target will be to gross €500,000 and it is hoped to make a profit of €250,000.

A professional marketing company will be employed to assist in the promotion of the draw. The official launch will take place at Roscommon’s first home league game against Tyrone on January 29th. Sales will be all online. Tickets will cost €50 each with three for €100. The draw will be held on the June Bank Holiday weekend.