Seamus Duke on sport – October 4th




Kevin McStay launches Roscommon memoir


I read the Kevin McStay book over a couple of nights last weekend and while I enjoyed it I was aware of most of what was in the book with regard to the Roscommon footballers over the three-year period he was in charge. I was at all the competitive games that the team played in that time so the highs and lows were familiar to me.

  I would, however, pick out a number of things from the book. The massive effort that the players put in to playing inter-county football is one. I have been harping on about that in this column and elsewhere for many years but it can never be repeated often enough.

  The huge financial strain that the County Board was/is under to keep the show on the road is another. Since Kevin was in charge  Club Rossie has run the hugely successful ‘Win a House In Dublin’ draw which I am sure has helped things out a bit in that regard. Nevertheless, it was quite incredible to read that Kevin had to pay a number of bills on his own credit card for the team during his term before being reimbursed eventually.

  The lack of a permanent training facility is also a big issue and that’s something that will have to change in Roscommon.

  The joy of winning the Connacht final in 2017 in Salthill by nine points is also a highlight. The controversies with Fergal O’Donnell and Gay Sheerin are handled with sensitivity and thankfully no old wounds were opened in that regard. Online abuse is also covered. Unfortunately it’s a feature of society in general and not just the GAA. It’s not just GAA players and managers that suffer.

  For the die-hard Rossie it’s a good read and for an insight into what’s involved in managing an inter-county team it’s also worth a look. Not a mention about the local papers in it at all. Just as well. No news is good news I suppose!

Final stages of club championships


The semi-finals of the football competitions were very interesting over the weekend and now we are down to the finals in senior, intermediate and junior.

  In the senior competition I think that most people would agree that the two best teams have reached the final and both clubs will be anxious to win the title. Pearses have never won the Fahey Cup while it is 15 years since the Gaels won it and that’s a long time for the town team to go without the title. It promises to be a great final.

  In the intermediate final I expected that Tulsk would be there but I should never have doubted Oran. The fact that they have had a lot of injuries put me off tipping them against Castlerea, but I should have known better. They have some superb young footballers and they will go into the final as underdogs which will suit them down to the ground. Tulsk will be the favourites, and deservedly so too, but Oran are capable of playing great football.

  Ballinameen are into the junior final and they will fancy their chances now. They will face Clann or Brigid’s with confidence. After a few false dawns in recent years maybe Ballinameen are about to taste glory this time around. All will be revealed in the next couple of weeks.


Delaney gone but FAI issues remain

The FAI seems hell-bent on annoying everyone in this country and especially the grassroots in the game. They released a statement about John Delaney’s resignation at 11.15 pm on a Saturday night when they knew it was too late to be covered in the Sunday papers. He also resigned a week before one of three reports into the finances of the association are to be made public.

  It’s a pity that the old guard are still hanging on despite the public outcry. Even though it has not been confirmed, you can be certain that John Delaney got a big pay-off to sail away into the sunset. People are demanding that the figure he got should be made public. There is not a chance that’s going to happen!


Rossies nominated for All Stars

Well done to Conor Cox and Niall Daly on their All-Star nominations. Both lads were outstanding this year and deserved to be recognised. The team will probably be dominated by Dublin and Kerry but it’s nice to be up there with them.

  The draws for next year’s championships will now be held on the radio from what I can hear. There won’t be any live TV programme but a series of draws on Morning Ireland and they are set for next week. Watch out for any further information. Roscommon are in London in 2020 and that game will be on the May Bank Holiday weekend here.


Japanese defeat no real surprise!


By the time you read this Ireland should have a win against Russia under their belts at the Rugby World Cup. It is probably true to say that the team took Japan a little for granted although it didn’t take a genius to work out that the hosts were going to target one of the top teams in the group for a big performance.

  I didn’t have high hopes for Ireland in Japan anyway so I wasn’t that surprised that they lost. I am expecting that we will bow out in the quarter-finals anyway whether it be to the Springboks or the All Blacks.

  It was disappointing to read some of the criticism of Jack Carty in the national media at the weekend. Like the rest of the team he started well but was under pressure after that. Many of the so-called experts were of the view that if Johnny Sexton was playing Ireland would have won. Looking at the match I very much doubt that.

  Ireland have a reasonable team but they are limited too. I expect them to beat Russia and Samoa but that’s as far as it goes.

  I liked the cut of Wales against Australia and they could be a dark horse. But the title looks to be between England, New Zealand and South Africa.

Old rivals meet again in hurling final

It’s the big day of the year in hurling with the Kepak SHC final on Sunday in Athleague. The game is previewed in detail elsewhere in the sports section but it’s the clash of the old rivals Athleague and Four Roads. It would be unthinkable for Four Roads to lose four finals in a row and that’s why I think they will return to the summit of Roscommon club hurling this weekend. There is a hunger about them this year but it promises to be a good match. Athleague have been playing well and under Seamus Qualter they won’t be far away. I hope it’s a fine day and a match to remember.


Young golfers win Fred Daly Trophy

The performance by the young men from Roscommon Golf Club who won the Fred Daly (U-18) Trophy at Castle Dargan last weekend is a candidate for the sporting performance of the year by any Roscommon team. This is an All-Ireland competition and is intensely fought. The vast majority of the strong clubs in this competition have ‘imports’ who are talented youngers not from their area, but players that they bring in to win competitions like these. Roscommon’s five players are all from around the town and have learned their golf at Roscommon Golf Club. Well done to everyone at the club and to the young players themselves who are all 16 to 18-years-old. What an achievement!