LGFA feeling heat in controversy over how time was called on team management

Members of the now former Roscommon Intermediate Ladies’ management team pictured in December 2021. Tom Lennon, John Kennedy, Ollie Lennon (manager) and Brian Lennon have issued a firm response to the decision to dispense with their services. Left to right:
Tom Lennon, Ollie Lennon, John Kennedy and Brian Lennon. Photo: Michelle Hughes Walsh

Roscommon LGFA is this week still dealing with the fallout from the controversial way in which time was called on the tenure of the county’s intermediate football ladies’ team management.

The outgoing management team – whose fate was sealed at a meeting last week – have since hit back strongly at the Roscommon LGFA executive, claiming the “vast majority” of the current playing panel were not even consulted during a recent review of their term in charge.

At a meeting of Roscommon LGFA executive on Monday, 4th of September, a decision was taken to part ways with manager Ollie Lennon and his management team. This move followed a recommendation to that effect from the Roscommon LGFA Development Committee.

In a firm response, the outgoing management team said they were “extremely disappointed” at the decision of the Roscommon LGFA executive to “remove us”.

The Roscommon People contacted Patricia Beirne, chairperson of Roscommon LGFA on Wednesday, but no statement was available before we went to press later in the day.

Ollie Lennon and his management colleagues said the meeting on Monday, 4th of September had been told that up to 15 players on the current panel were not prepared to continue playing if the outgoing management remained in place. Mr. Lennon and his management team – Tom Lennon, Brian Lennon and John Kennedy – have rejected this claim.

In a statement issued to the Roscommon People last Friday, they said: “We – the Roscommon intermediate ladies’ football management team – are extremely disappointed with the decision of the Roscommon LGFA executive to remove us from our position.

“As a management team, we wanted to build on the strides we had made and were looking forward to leading the team into 2024.

“Following a recommendation from the Roscommon LGFA Development committee who undertook a review of our two years at the helm, it is our understanding that it was stated very clearly… that one of the reasons why we should not be offered a third year in charge was because up to 15 players had indicated that they wouldn’t return to the panel if we stayed on.

“Following our own internal review over the past number of days, we have every reason to believe that this was not the case and that the vast majority of players on the current panel were never consulted during the review, including our captain and vice-captain”.

The outgoing management led Roscommon to a Division Three League title in 2022, and a Connacht intermediate title this year, but accept that this season’s results have been disappointing overall.

Their statement continued: “Over our two years at the helm, we have wanted only the best for the players. We have always tried to help them reach their potential, and the girls delivered with a Division Three League title in 2022 and a Connacht intermediate title earlier this year.

“We acknowledge that results might not have been what everyone would have hoped for in league and championship this season, but we feel that we were very competitive in all of these games.

“Over our two years in charge, we asked 102 girls into the county intermediate ladies’ football panel. As is their right, some girls declined for a variety of different reasons. At no stage were we made aware by the players or by Roscommon LGFA that one of those reasons might have been management.

“In our view, there has been a lot of misinformation and rumours doing the rounds in recent days and we, as a management team, feel that the record needs to be set straight on this matter”.

The outgoing management concluded by wishing the Roscommon intermediate ladies’ football panel every success going forward.

“We have seen, at first-hand, the players’ commitment and passion to the primrose and blue jersey. They have been a credit to their clubs and their families, and we have nothing but admiration for them”.