O’Rourke’s withdrawal throws Roscommon GAA into turmoil



Roscommon GAA is in turmoil once again following news that the “preferred candidate” to become the new senior football manager, former Armagh player Aidan O’Rourke, dramatically pulled out of the selection process at the last minute on Tuesday having previously indicated that he was interested in taking the job to replace Kevin McStay.

  A committee had been put in place to recruit a replacement for McStay and after a five-week search they had finally settled on former Armagh player and Louth manager O’Rourke, who was including well-known strength and conditioning coach Mike McGurn in his backroom team along with former Donegal star Karl Lacey as a coach.

  O’Rourke’s name was due to come before club delegates at last Monday night’s (22nd) County Board meeting for ratification but Chairman Seamus Sweeney told the gathering that O’Rourke has requested a further 24 hours “to finalise one member of his backroom team”. Then on Tuesday came the dramatic news that O’Rourke had informed the board that he was pulling out altogether.

  In a statement released on Tuesday, Roscommon County Board said that they were concerned at what they described as “attempts to influence the outcome of the process”. It is understood that there was unease among some players and others at the proposal to appoint O’Rourke. The reasons for that unease have not been made clear, but there are those who feel that an appointment should be made from within the county.

  The committee will now have to reconvene and continue their efforts to make an appointment. Roscommon are the only county in the country without a senior manager and they face a tough 2019 with an Allianz National Football League Division One campaign starting on January 26th.


‘Commentary on social media extremely unhelpful’


County Board statement in full

‘The process to select a manager commenced on September 10th when the committee was ratified by Roscommon Co. Board and given the mandate to recruit a new Senior Team Manager. The committee consisted of Chairman Seamus Sweeney, Secretary Brian Carroll and Treasurer of the county board David O’Connor and they were joined by Niall Carty, former Roscommon Senior team captain and Ciarán Heneghan, a former Roscommon senior footballer.

  Following a five-week consultation period involving a number of candidates, this included the sole nominee from the clubs who withdrew from the process and a second Roscommon based candidate who also withdrew from the process having been offered an interview.

Interviews were conducted during week 6 and last night Monday October 22 Roscommon GAA Management Committee expected to be in a position to put the name of the preferred candidate for consideration to the club delegates.

  Prior to last night’s meeting (Monday), the chairman Seamus Sweeney received a phone call from the preferred candidate requesting a 24-hour deferral. This was conveyed to the county board delegates at last night’s meeting.

Our preferred candidate was Aidan O’Rourke. His team was to consist of Mike McGurn (Strength and Conditioning), two Roscommon coach/selectors, and a head coach, Karl Lacey.

The reason for the delay was because of unexpected doubts in relation to Karl Lacey’s availability as head coach.

  Unfortunately, this morning (Tuesday, October 23rd) the county chairman received a call from Aidan O’Rourke informing him that he was withdrawing from the process. 

  The Roscommon GAA Management committee is very disappointed at the turn of events but are fully committed to completing the selection process.

  However, the committee is concerned at attempts that have been made to influence the outcome of the process over recent days. The committee believes that these events have undermined the integrity of the process and potentially affected our ability to attract a new manager.

  In addition, some of the public commentary on social media has been extremely unhelpful’.