Going in the right direction, all shoulders to the wheel

Whatever happens on Sunday – when Roscommon senior footballers pursue a first Connacht title in six years – Roscommon football is on the rise.

  What’s appealing about the current football landscape here – and absolutely notwithstanding the landmines (e.g. New York) that can still be encountered – is the absolute sense that things are being done the right way.

  When the Club Rossie bus loomed into view, some people scoffed. But it was the right thing to do.

  When Roscommon GAA, battered by years’ of heavy defeats at underage level, went back to basics and implemented a clinically strategic approach from very young age levels upwards – it was the right thing to do.

  Appointing a ‘dream team’ of Kevin McStay and Fergal O’Donnell, supported by Liam McHale and an impressive, committed management/backroom team, shows every sign of having been the right thing to do.

  The entire Club Rossie initiative – surely a painstaking undertaking involving a huge amount of work and dedication – has proven to have been the right thing to do.

  The meticulous, determined almost fanatical endeavour to transform the fortunes of a proud football county – and to build structures that will lead to the much-coveted success – is working, even if there will be bad days, pitfalls and tests of everyone’s faith.

  Back twenty years or so ago, Roscommon teams were in the doldrums, often being hammered within Connacht. There were some humiliating defeats. There were brief periods too of ill-discipline, invariably publicised in unfair proportion to whatever had happened or was alleged to have happened. Perhaps some in the media were a little guilty of not giving good local lads, sporting amateurs, more of a break. Meanwhile, financial woes were the norm.

  Roscommon football was in a bad place, and had to be rescued. There was no magic formula. Passionate people put their shoulders to the wheel. They didn’t always agree with one another. They didn’t always get it right. Politics sometimes reared its head. But the goal was agreed: Let’s close the gap between Roscommon and our rivals in Connacht, get competitive at all levels, and lay the foundations for the prospect of future success.

  I see Roscommon football as being in an increasingly healthy state now. Fundraising effectively. Greatly buoyed by improved performances. Much underage success in recent years to be savoured. A swashbuckling burst though the league divisions by the seniors. The Hyde ownership issue addressed. Plans in place for enhanced facilities. With good pre-Connacht final timing, the sod turned this week on the badly-needed restoration work at the Hyde.

  Off the field, in terms of management, administration and with Club Rossie’s great support, we are going in the right direction. On the field, we are absolutely going in the right direction.

  This Sunday, thousands of Roscommon fans travel to Salthill to cheer on their team against Galway in an intriguing 2016 Connacht Senior Footbal Final showdown. Who can say what will happen?

  Roscommon travel with our very best wishes. Whatever happens, things are being done the right way. We would welcome the right result!