Don’t strike – Haughey’s appeal to Roscommon GAA players

Outgoing Roscommon County Hurling Board Secretary Johnny Haughey has said he hopes he will never see a Roscommon footballer or hurler take strike action.    Referring in his annual report to the threat of strike action by the GPA, Mr. Haughey declares: ‘I hope that I will never see a footballer or hurler in Roscommon refuse to play for their county’.   In his final report to convention as Roscommon Hurling County Board secretary, Mr. Johnny Haughey recalls a very successful 2007 on the inter-county front, with Roscommon winning titles at senior (2) and U-21 level.   Johnny Haughey says that the 2007 club SHC was ‘long and prolonged’ and with the success of the county senior team it meant that the Junior and U-21 championships are not yet finished.    Johnny Haughey also records the loss of the great Jimmy Murray during the year by reminding everyone that the late Jamsie was, in addition to his football exploits, also a very good hurler and one of those responsible for the foundation of the Roscommon Hurling Board in 1946.   Johnny Haughey recalls that when he took over as hurling secretary there were only three senior teams in Roscommon. He says that there was no organised hurling at school level in the county at that time (1950s).    The outgoing secretary says that Tremane came along in the 1950s and they became senior after that and won their first title in 1956. Then St. Dominics emerged in the 1960s and won a senior championship in 1967. Then Padraig Pearses came along in the 1970s to be followed by a club in Oran. Johnny recalls that Roscommon Gaels were by far the strongest senior team in the county in the 1960s, winning six county titles in that decade.   One of the major triumphs for Roscommon at inter-county level over the years recalled by the outgoing secretary was the junior success against Warwickshire in 1965 at St. Comans Park. That was the day that the legendary Gerry O’Malley finally won an All-Ireland medal.   Johnny Haughey recalls that Roscommon  have never lost an All-Ireland hurling final since then, which is a remarkable statistic. In the late 1960s Roscommon won U-16 Minor and U-21 titles and the Junior title was secured again in 1974.   Johnny remembers the 1980s with particular affection. Roscommon beat three counties, including Wexford, in the Centenary Cup in 1984. In 1984/85 Roscommon played in Division 2 of the National Hurling League and only missed being promoted to Division One by one point.   In his report he praises the work of all the many people that he has worked with on the Hurling Board over the years and singles out  Phonsie Tully who he says did fantastic work when chairman of Coiste Iomana for 25 years. Mr. Haughey also acknowledges Michael Kelly of Oran who did so much good work with young people, particularly at National School level, over many years.   On the controversial issue of the GPA and the proposed players’ strike, Johnny Haughey says that he is very sorry to hear that there is strike action proposed.    ‘I hope that I will never see a footballer or hurler in Roscommon refuse to play for their county. I know they make huge sacrifices to play but a strike is not the answer, other than to up the ego of a few people’ he says.    Johnny says that it is important that the game of hurling is kept strong in the established areas and that work should go into what he calls ‘the fringe clubs, like Castlerea, St. Croans, St. Brigids, Clann na nGael and Kilbride.’    Roscommon’s famous hurling servant concluded his final report by wishing the GAA in Roscommon all the best for the future.    ‘The Association did our country well in the past. In the bad old days it helped to unify every parish and create goodwill and a great parish and county spirit. Indeed it would be a worse country without the clubs and the games’ the report concludes.