No plans to sell Hyde Park – McGuire

In a wide-ranging address to Monday night’s Roscommon GAA Convention, County Board Chairperson Michael McGuire said that 2007 was a wonderful year for hurling – with success in the Nicky Rackard Cup, the National League and the U-21 Championship. He congratulated all concerned.    Mr. McGuire also paid tribute to retiring hurling secretary Johnny Haughey, who he said was one of the greatest Roscommon GAA administrators ever to have worked in the association. He wished him a long and happy retirement.   On the football front Mr. McGuire said that it was an enjoyable and frustrating year – in equal measure. ‘We had great performances in the league against Cavan and Offaly and we achieved our goal of promotion, but our championship performances were below par’ he said.   Mr. McGuire also paid a generous tribute to retiring Roscommon kit-man Mick Mullen, who is stepping down after 30 years in the job.   ‘Coaching and Games development is the most important thing that we do now in Roscommon GAA, and that work will be enhanced even more in 2008. We spent €143,000 on coaching in 2007 and that shows our commitment to that aspect of the association’ he said.    Mr. McGuire thanked the various committees and especially the minor board and their chairperson Brendan Cregg and the fixtures committee, who he said had done a fantastic job to have completed all the fixtures within the calendar year. He also paid special tribute to Johnny Mahony and Pat Finneran in that regard.   Mr. McGuire reported on the massive amount of money that was now required to run the County Board over the course of a year.    In 2007 the figure was almost €1.9 million, and although the board are reporting a surplus for the year, the income was down by in the region of €70,000 because of a reduction in the number of people subscribing to the yearly draw.    ‘We are re-launching that draw in 2008 and it is imperative that it is a success’ he advised delegates.     The chairperson also emphasised the importance of the Punchestown Race Day fund-raiser which was a major success in 2007. Another such day is planned for 2008.   Mr. McGuire also paid tribute to retiring Treasurer Mike Smith, whose son Cian he wished all the best as he continues his recovery from a recent illness.   The County chairperson paid tribute to others who helped the board out during the year, such as sponsors, the Supporters Club in Dublin and all the clubs in the county, all of whose co-operation during the years he acknowledged.    On the future of Dr. Hyde Park, the chairperson said that contrary to what people may have heard ‘there are no plans by this board or anyone else to sell Dr. Hyde Park now or at any time into the future. I want to state that clearly.    ‘We are working with the Implementation Committee on an agreement on the future for Hyde Park and hopefully those negotiations can bear fruit soon’ he said.   On the question of county training facilities, Mr. McGuire stated the the current facilities in Kilbride are ‘not sufficient for what we require at present and it is imperative that we develop a centre of excellence in the county for training and coaching. There are big grants available for that at the moment and we are working hard on that at present’ he said.    The chairperson paid tribute to the late Jamsie Murray and Hugh Gibbons, members of the great Roscommon team of the 1940’s who passed away this year and also to two other great former Roscommon footballers, Dave Watson and Gerry Beirne, who also died during the year.   In conclusion, Mr. McGuire stated that he was aware that it was now becoming a struggle for some clubs to survive and that the board would have to be far more proactive in the future to see what they could do to help clubs.   He thanked the press and the local media and his own family and work colleagues for their help and support during the year.