The 2016 Roscommon GAA annual convention will take place at the Community Hall in Ballinameen this Friday night starting at 7.30 pm. There are nine motions on the Clár, nothing of a controversial nature and there are no elections for the various posts. The accounts will also be presented by Treasurer Seamus Maher on the night.
In a wide-ranging report, Secretary Brian Carroll says that it was a challenging year for Roscommon GAA on and off the field. The unavailability of Dr Hyde Park was a major issue all year and he defended the decision to play the league game against Dublin in Carrick-on-Shannon.
“It was a difficult situation to get right. When the Down game was switched on the Friday we were criticised for switching too early and not giving the Hyde a chance, when the Mayo game wasn’t switched and let go ahead in the Hyde we were criticised for not switching it and when the Dublin game was switched on the Sunday morning we were criticised for not switching it earlier. It was certainly a case of dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t. Hopefully with our new pitch available in early 2017 we won’t have a situation like what occurred in 2016 happening again,” he said.
With regard to Roscommon’s exit from the senior football championship Brian Carroll said defeat to Galway hurt and the controversy, which followed the Clare defeat, was very difficult for Roscommon GAA.
“What happened over the next number of weeks has been written about and well discussed and I don’t intend bringing up the past. What I will say is Fergal O’Donnell has been a great servant to Roscommon GAA for a number of years and I wish to thank him most sincerely for all his efforts and work,” he said.
He then called on Roscommon fans to get behind Kevin McStay and the new management team.
“I would appeal to every single Roscommon supporter we have to please get behind the management and team in 2017. We have to move forward in a united fashion if we are to succeed on the field. We must now leave the past where it belongs, in the past,” he said.
He congratulated the U-21 and minor football teams on their efforts in 2016 and he said that the Roscommon senior hurlers are well capable of competing in the Christy Ring Cup and congratulated them on their league promotion.
On the issue of the shortage of referees, he challenged the clubs to come up with one new referee per club for 2017.
“I would challenge each club in our county before the 1st of March to have identified and spoken to one person in your club who is willing to take up the role and train to be a referee. If every club done this we would have 32 new referees, which would be a great boost for referee numbers in the county,” he said.
Brian Carroll said that the abuse of the gate people who work on a voluntary basis would not be tolerated.
“I would also ask people to please respect our gate people when they are doing their job on match day. Unfortunately, we have heard of incidents where gate people were verbally abused by people entering games. This is most unacceptable behaviour and will not be tolerated. These gate people have no control on how much they charge anyone to get into a game as the admission prices are set by the County Finance Committee,” he said.
New developments at Dr Hyde Park and the Dermot Earley Centre of Excellence are also prominent in the report.
“Our new pitch surface at Dr Hyde Park will hopefully be a brilliant addition to the hosting of games. I, for one, know that the uncertainty on a Thursday whether a game can be played there three days later makes everyone’s job very difficult. Our training option is still a problem and that is why it is so crucial that everyone gets behind the planned Dermot Earley Centre of Excellence and ensures that this project is a success. I want to thank all our clubs for their co-operation with making their pitches available for our County teams,” he said. He also praised the positive role played by Club Rossie in the affairs of the county and Roscommon GAA in 2016.
Brian also fondly remembered two Roscommon GAA greats, Gerry O’Malley and Frank Dennehy, who passed away during the year and indeed all the GAA followers and officials who had loved ones pass away during the year.