Seamus Duke on sport – 22nd of December



Croke Park needs to provide financial plan

The main topic of debate and conversation at this year’s Roscommon GAA convention was finance (look at last week’s report in People Sport) and when the local media met with Roscommon manager Kevin McStay last Thursday finance was also a huge issue as he prepares for 2018.

  The GAA will have to look at the way counties are financed because the reality is that small counties like Roscommon are simply going to run out of money in the near future if some sort of (national) financing plan is not put in place by Croke Park.

  In fact, Roscommon are one of the lucky counties because we have in Tom Hunt and Sean Mulryan, two of the best sponsors in the country, and men who are in there for the long haul.

  But quite apart from the fact that the County Board is now turning over in excess of €2 million per annum, and the fact that it costs a fortune now to train a successful county team at all levels, there are other priorities that have to be faced too.

  Commitments have been made to get work underway at the county training centre and everyone knows that county teams need a base to train and that must be paid for. But remember that Dr Hyde Park is there too. We have a magnificent pitch now but the spectator facilities are sub-standard and immediate upgrade work is needed as soon as possible and all that costs money.

  In fact there is a possible situation that could arise in 2018 that if Roscommon qualify for the Super 8 they are entitled to a home game. If Roscommon drew say Mayo or Dublin at home it is almost certain that the way things are at the moment they would not be allowed to play the game at Dr Hyde Park such would be the possible crowd at that match. If that were to happen there would be uproar.

  It is a very difficult situation for sure and the GAA will have to step in to help counties like Roscommon and others who are in this financial bind. I don’t envy the job of the County Board officials trying to wrestle with these problems.

Great year of club championships!

2017 has been a wonderful year of sport and the drama continued in Portlaoise last Sunday when St. Loman’s managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when they imploded in injury-time in the Leinster club final.

  I don’t think I can recall a bigger comeback (or collapse) in a major football championship match. The Mullingar side thought they had the victory in the bag but Moorefield kept going, and veteran Ronan Sweeney was the best player on the field as he drove them on to a famous victory. It will take St. Loman’s some time to get over that loss. I can only imagine what that dressing room was like after the game.

  There are now five teams left in the All-Ireland Club Football Championship and my fancy to win it now are Corofin and that’s because they have a quarter-final against Fulham Irish (which I presume they will win) and that would be a perfect warm-up for their semi-final against Moorefield. In the other semi-final I fancy Slaughtneil to edge out Nemo Rangers. It will be a great finish to the senior championship.

Positive briefing from McStay

We are lucky in Roscommon to have someone as forthcoming as Kevin McStay as our senior football manager. He briefed the local media last Thursday evening on his plans for the year ahead and nothing was omitted.

  His reasoning for rejoining the Junior Football Championship is very solid as it will keep fringe players interested.

  In addition, the fact that Roscommon now have a training base (Kiltoom) for the next three years is very welcome. With almost all the absentees from last year back on the panel we can look forward to a very interesting year in 2018.

  I think we will be better than we were in 2017. Martin Breheny reckons that we are now up to number 6 in terms of the national rankings. I would say 8th to 10th is more realistic but hopefully we will be in the top 6 by the end of 2018.

I wouldn’t have picked James!

James McClean would not have been my choice as the Irish Sports Personality of 2017, but who am I to argue with the public? 

  McClean had a great campaign for the Republic of Ireland in their failed World Cup qualification effort, but he is not a regular starter for West Brom and he didn’t win anything in 2017. 

  I am no huge follower of the Dubs but both their achievement in winning the three in a row and their manager Jim Gavin were ignored which is plain wrong. What about Con O’Callaghan or Katie Taylor or Joe Canning or Robbie Power or Aidan O’Brien? Surely they were more entitled to be chosen. 

  It was a very strange choice indeed. But then again what do I know!

New Year sporting wish list

This is our final paper of 2017 and once again I am going to list out some of my hopes for sport in 2018…


Roscommon footballers to retain their Connacht SFC title and get to the Super 8, and promotion to Division One as well. No pressure then!


Roscommon hurlers to be promoted in the league and retain their championship status.


The Roscommon U-17s to win the inaugural Connacht title.


Michael Glavey’s to get to the All-Ireland IFC Final.


Roscommon ladies footballers to win the Connacht Intermediate title.


Shane Lowry to win a major and qualify for the Ryder Cup team.


Tiger Woods to return and be competitive.


Ireland to win the Six Nations championship and maybe even the Grand Slam!


One of the Irish provinces to win the Champions Cup and Connacht to win the Challenge Cup!


That we see another new name on the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 2018. Wexford anyone?


That Aidan O’Brien continues his great form on the flat and that Ireland has at least ten winners at Cheltenham.


That we have an exciting World Cup (a forlorn hope I think) in Russia. It would be nice to see a new name on the trophy and I am backing Belgium.

Greetings of the season!

Once again at the end of the year I want to thank all our loyal readers for the feedback and reaction over the year. Thanks for all the positive comments about our special ‘Roscommon People Plus’ magazine which has proved a huge hit with our readers.  A huge thank you as well to all our advertisers and sponsors. Thanks to Paul and Fiona Healy for their continued support and hopefully we will all be here at Roscommon’s only locally owned newspaper again this time next year. Thanks to Dan for his support and help this year too. Have a sporting Christmas and New Year!