Roscommon GAA in turmoil as O’Donnell quits

Joint manager alleges there was campaign to undermine him

Roscommon GAA is once again embroiled in controversy after the shock resignation of joint senior team manager Fergal O’Donnell.

  Mr. O’Donnell confirmed that he is stepping down during a meeting on Tuesday night with County Board officers Seamus Sweeney and Brian Carroll and also attended by the other joint manager, Kevin McStay. Selectors Stephen Bohan and David Casey have also announced that they are to step down.In a very strongly worded statement Fergal O’Donnell claims that there was “a concerted effort made (outside of management and players) to undermine and disparage us and it is especially disappointing and damaging that those involved purport to be concerned about GAA within the county.”

  That dramatic statement clearly indicates that what had been seen as a ‘dream team’ combination of McStay and O’Donnell has now collapsed on foot of O’Donnell’s belief that a campaign against him had been mounted (by people other than management and players).

  The management committee of Roscommon County Board were due to meet last night (Wednesday) to discuss the situation further.

  It is expected that Kevin McStay will now be nominated to continue in the job as sole manager. However the McStay/O’Donnell partnership was presented to the clubs last year and agreed for a three-year period and any change to that arrangement will have to be agreed by the clubs again in the coming weeks – something which may not be as straightforward as might first appear if there are recriminations after the statement from Fergal O’Donnell.

  The joint managers took up their positions last October and while Roscommon had an excellent National Football League Division One campaign their erratic championship season ended with heavy defeats in the Connacht Final replay and in a qualifier against Clare. 

  There was no comment from either Fergal O’Donnell, Kevin McStay or anyone from Roscommon County Board on Wednesday, but there is certain to be a significant fall-out after that very strong statement from Fergal O’Donnell and the circumstances of his unexpected departure.

O’Donnell’s statement

“It is with much regret and disappointment that myself, Stephen Bohan and David Casey have decided to resign from our roles as joint manager and selectors with the Roscommon senior football team.

  “Having been asked 12 months ago to contribute to making Roscommon a force again over a three-year term, we were wholeheartedly committed to achieving that goal. Our decision to depart now is made in the best interests of Roscommon football and with a view to removing the inevitable distraction that would result from a potentially divisive contest for the position of manager between myself and Kevin (McStay).

  “Recently, a concerted effort has been made (outside of management and players) to undermine and disparage us and it is especially disappointing and damaging that those involved purport to be concerned about the promotion of GAA within the county.  We want to thank the backroom team, the County Board, our generous sponsors, our loyal supporters, Club Rossie and most importantly the players for their dedication, sacrifice and commitment to Roscommon’s cause. Roscommon has a hugely talented group of footballers. Now, as supporters, we share the hope that they will continue to learn, develop and ultimately fulfil their potential. To this end, we wish the team every success in the future.”

What County Board said…

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Roscommon GAA County Board said the Board Chairperson Seamus Sweeney and Board Secretary Brian Carroll met with the joint managers of the Roscommon senior football team Fergal O’Donnell and Kevin McStay on Tuesday night. The purpose of the meeting was to review the 2016 season. 

  During the meeting Fergal O’Donnell announced his intention to resign with immediate effect from his position as joint manager of the senior football team along with team selectors David Casey and Stephen Bohan.

  The Board said: “Roscommon GAA would like to take this opportunity to thank Fergal O’Donnell for his long and dedicated service to Roscommon GAA and also thanks to David Casey and Stephen Bohan who have been great servants of the GAA in Roscommon. We wish themselves and their families the very best for the future.”

  The statement said that the Roscommon GAA Management Committee would meet on Wednesday night to discuss the senior team management for 2017.