Paul Healy’s Week

Great project – pity about the location  And so people power has spoken.    A few weeks ago the mutterings of discontent sounded, and murmurs grew into catcalls and cries of protest.    The word was that a highly ambitious commercial/residential/recreational project had been earmarked for Roscommon town.    There was no reason to believe that this project was anything other than impressive and indeed potentially hugely beneficial to the area. Timely too. With all the talk of an economic downturn, the prospects of a momentous new ‘wing’ being added to an already expanding county town was exciting.    Until the location was taken into account, that is.    There was no chance to welcome or embrace this mooted super-development, because the story had a sting in its tail.    The would-be location was ‘The Lough,’ an area of town which is very close to the hearts of the people of the town.    Over recent weeks the full significance of the Turlough at Lougnaneane was highlighted for anyone who was unaware of its importance.    A well-orchestrated media offensive was launched by local groups who were determined to dispense with the ‘super-development’ before it got a chance to breathe.    The first hurdle facing the would-be developers was the need to have the location rezoned.    Pressure was applied – from all directions – to county councillors ahead of a crucial meeting last Monday.    Some councillors had to balance their own views with those of the lobbying protestors, and some would argue that political expediency took over.    In the end, the rezoning issue didn’t even go to a vote. People power had won out. The Turlough is ‘safe’ – for now anyway.    The remarkable development that had been proposed remains as impressive as ever ‘on paper’, incorporating as it does houses, retail units, an education centre, youth and sporting facilities, etc.    It has fallen victim, you could say, to the first ‘rule’ of the property market – location, location, location.  Maughan speculates on ‘call from chairman’! Roscommon GAA manager John Maughan is causing a real stir as we go to press, radically changing his team for Sunday’s National Football League encounter with Meath in Kiltoom.    Maughan is ringing the changes – and bringing back Frankie Dolan – after Roscommon ‘ s heavy, if not entirely unexpected defeat to Monaghan. Seamus Duke has all the details on pages 41 & 56.    Maughan’s move may prove inspired – certainly he cannot be accused of ‘Eddie O’Sullivanitis’ (in that he has stuck to the same team, as O’Sullivan so often did)! In fairness to Maughan and Roscommon judgement on what is essentially a team in some transition ought to be reserved for a few games at least.    Meanwhile I was interested to read some comments by the Roscommon manager in a recent edition of the Mayo Advertiser.    Writing about the aftermath of the Monaghan defeat, Maughan speculates that if he was a soccer manager he might now be facing the sack!    It’s not clear whether he was speaking tongue-in-cheek or not! The direct quote is: ‘If I were a soccer manager I would probably be getting a call from the chairman of the Board enquiring as to what is going on with the Roscommon team. Or as my good friend Pat Holmes suggested yesterday, I would be getting the dreaded vote of confidence from the chairman and be out of a job next week.’    Having travelled to Clones full of ‘excited anticipation,’ he left ‘feeling rather empty with lots of questions floating in my brain’.    The Roscommon manager went on to write about the aftermath. ‘Needless to say we were in bad form after the heavy defeat. Heads were down in the dressing room afterwards. It is very difficult to know what to say in these situations, but you have the responsibility as manager to pick up the pieces and move on.    ‘I had the difficult task of making several phone calls to individual players on Sunday night reinforcing my belief in their ability to make progress and develop as a team