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Dynamic duo take Masters title back to Ballinaheglish

Last weekend saw the Irish Masters being held in The West County Hotel, Ennis.

  A number of Roscommon players were on show, with an impressive haul of ranking points returning to the county.

  First up on Saturday was the Pairs event, and the Ballinaheglish duo of cousins David and Thomas Concannon went all the way to the final where they took a 6-0 win to take the title.

  In the singles event on Sunday, a win for Gary Concannon over Ali Powell of Meath saw him through to the last 32 before losing out to Limerick’s Jimmy Murphy.

  A win over Anthony Mullarkey of Sligo put Roscommon player Ross Kelly through to the last 16 before losing out to Kevin McDonnell of Cork.

  Wins for Thomas Concannon over Benny Grace (Kilkenny) and Sean Wilson (Donegal) put him into the quarter-finals and thanks to some consistent darts and decisive finishing the McDermott’s player sealed his place in the semi-finals against John O’Shea of Cork. Despite some great darts Thomas was unlucky to lose out narrowly at this stage.

  His opponent in that semi-final would go on to face David Concannon in the final. Wins for David over John Joe Dolan (Sligo), Paddy Boyce (Donegal) and Richie Walsh (Meath) put the Ballinaheglish player into the quarter-finals, where another win set up a meeting with Sean McGowan of Sligo. Again, success was on the cards for David and this set up a final meeting with O’Shea. Despite some great darts from David the Corkman was not to be bettered on this occasion; power scoring and clinical finishing proved key as he won out on a 4-2 scoreline.

  In the Youths’ Event Roscommon player Ronan McDonagh had a successful day, making it through the group stages of the Round Robin format and going all the way to the final where he was unlucky to lose out to Keane Barry on a 4-3 scoreline.

 

Hodson Bay Hotel SFC and IFC round-up

Strokestown and Kilmore in dour draw

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC Group B

Strokestown 0-5 Kilmore 0-5

When Kilmore sub Derek Connellan stood over a difficult free out on the left wing in injury-time about 40 metres from goal Strokestown were looking down the barrel of a shock defeat – but his effort tailed out wide and the spoils were shared in a low-scoring encounter played in very wet conditions in Kilglass last Sunday.

Strokestown were the hot favourites to record another win but a fiercely determined Kilmore were in no mood to stand by and they contested every ball with fierce passion and intensity throughout.

By contrast, Strokestown were strangely subdued and they couldn’t get any sustained bout of attacking play going and their total of 14 wides shows how wasteful they were in front of goal.

In the very wet conditions scores were as scarce as hen’s teeth. Points from corner-back Donal Molloy and Kevin Finn in the first eight minutes suggested that Strokestown would dominate, but Kilmore were always in the hunt.

John Donohue pointed a 40-metre free for Kilmore in the 16th minute but just a minute later Strokestown made it 0-3 to 0-1 when Diarmuid McGann landed a 25-metre free.

Kilmore were level at half-time with points from play from Paul Beirne and Colm Garvey. The second half was a hard-fought and very dour affair. Strokestown probably had more of the ball but Kilmore refused to lie down.

Dermot Foley nudged Kilmore ahead in the 36th minute with a good point from play but it was level a minute later when Diarmuid McGann pointed from play.

In the 44th minute Kilmore were ahead again when Dara Feely pointed a close-range free and we then had 13 minutes without a score as both sides struggled to gain any superiority.

Then in the 26th minute Thomas Corcoran finally pulled Strokestown level when he pointed a ’45. There was to be no more scoring and both sides know that a huge improvement is needed if they are to make any further progress in this championship.

Strokestown: John McHugh; John Hagan, Ruari Molloy, Donal Molloy (0-1); Daniel Rogers, Paddy Brogan, Keelan Beirne; Seamus Collins, Thomas Corcoran (0-1, ’45); Colin Compton, Niall Brogan, John Rogers; Kevin Finn (0-1), Diarmuid McGann (0-2, 1 free), Conor Silke. Subs: David Neary for Hagan (h-t), David Butler for N Brogan (h-t), Cathal Compton for S Collins (48).

Kilmore: Ollie Burke; Mark Connellan, Jack Sharkey, Liam Caslin; Gary Connellan, Colm Garvey (0-1), John Donohue (0-1, free); Diarmuid Carney, Dermot Foley (0-1); Aaron McEvoy, Paul Beirne (0-1), Dara Feely (0-1, free); Brian Connellan, Ray Caslin, Charlie Burke. Subs: Derek Connellan for R Caslin (54). Referee: Gerry Carmody.

Man of the Match: Dara Feely (Kilmore)

Tulsk on top

Tulsk 0-11 St Dominic’s 0-10

Tulsk knew that they were in the semi-finals already before this game started but they were put to the pin of their collective collars to fend off the spirited challenge of St Dominic’s in this competitive game at Kilbride.

Tulsk began the better side and they scored three good points in a row. However St Dominic’s, who needed to win to have a chance of a semi-final spot, came back into the game in the second quarter and it was a close contest after that. The Knockcroghery men hit back with two points.

Then Tulsk hit four in a row to open up a four-point gap. Then in the third quarter Dominic’s looked the better side and they scored four points on the trot – and now the sides were level.

Conor Fallon then put Dominic’s into the lead. Stephen McCormack levelled with a Tulsk point, and the same player and Craig Burns added points to put them ahead again by two. There was a tense finish but the only remaining score came from St Dominic’s sub Michael McGloin who reduced the margin to the minimum.

St Dominic’s now qualify for the quarter-finals where they will meet Michael Glavey’s and the winners of that game will face Tulsk in the semi-final.

Scorers – Tulsk: S McCormack (0-4), R Galvin (0-2), K Donoghue, C Burns, D McNamara, M Dufficy, C O’Rourke (0-1 each).

St Dominic’s: C Fallon (0-3), K Dockery, U Kelly (0-2 each), S Farrell, D Donnelly, M McGloin (0-1 each).

Brennan the hero

Fuerty 1-13 St Aidan’s 1-10

Fuerty needed a late goal to deny St Aidan’s a share of the spoils at Kiltoom and as a result Fuerty are now into the quarter-finals, where they will face Kilbride.

John Brennan was the Fuerty hero, scoring that late goal to see his side into the play-offs. Fuerty led by 0-9 to 1-3 at half-time, having played really well in that first half.

Gearoid Ennis was accurate from play and frees and Malachy Gately’s men looked set for a comfortable win. However a well-taken goal from Ferdie Coyne kept Aidan’s in the hunt and to their credit they battled back well in the third quarter.

With Paddy Tiernan and Terence Kelly playing well Aidan’s grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and knocked over four points in a row to lead for the first time.

Niall Kilroy then equalised before the sides traded late points from Gearoid Ennis and Terence Kelly and then followed the late drama when John Brennan fisted home an injury-time goal to deny St Aidan’s after a spirited display from them.

Scorers – Fuerty: G Ennis (0-7), N Kilroy (0-4), J Brennan (1-0), N Keenan (0-2).

St Aidan’s: T Kelly, P Tiernan (0-3 each), F Coyne (1-0), J Coyne, K Waldron (0-2 each).

Oran onslaught

Oran 3-18 St Michael’s 0-5

Oran qualified for the semi-finals of the Intermediate Championship after this comprehensive win against St Michael’s at Enfield.

After a poor enough start Oran powered into the game in the second quarter. Goals from Mark Gunning and Cathal Kenny helped Oran into a 2-7 to 0-3 half-time lead.

The one-sided nature of the contest continued in the second half and although Michael’s battled hard they had no answer to Oran’s scoring power. Kieran Whyte capped an excellent personal performance when he scored Oran’s third goal late in the game.

Oran now await the winners of Fuerty and Kilbride in the semi-final.

Scorers – Oran: C Kelly (1-5), K Whyte (1-4), A Cassidy (0-4), M Gunning (1-1), M Dwyer, J Garvey, E Kenny, R Earley (0-1 each).

St Michael’s: R Cox (0-2), T Duignan, K Gilboy, P Simon (0-1 each).

Henry heroics

Kilbride 3-14 Clann na nGael 0-7

Kilbride are into the IFC quarter-finals following this easy win against Clann na nGael at Johnstown.

Kilbride played well all through and at half-time they were in good shape, leading by 2-8 to 0-3, with Conor Devaney and Henry Walsh scoring well-taken goals for the visitors.

Seamus O’Neill, Tom O’Grady, Henry Walsh and Conor Devaney were all playing well as Kilbride produced their best display of the season and Henry Walsh capped off this fine display with a goal 10 minutes from time.

Kilbride now take on neighbours Fuerty in the quarter-final with a place against Oran in the semi-final up for grabs.

Scorers – Kilbride: T O’Grady (0-6), H Walsh (2-0), C Devaney (1-2), F Tully (0-3), S O’Neill, J Donnelly, D Battles (0-1 each).

Clann na nGael: C Duignan (0-3), D McManus, R McNamara, R Killian, M Shine (0-1 each).

Easy for Eire Og

Eire Og 1-18 St Barry’s 2-2

Eire Og’s good recent form was maintained at Tarmonbarry but it was not good enough to get them to a play-off spot.

However this defeat means that St Barry’s will face St Ronan’s in a relegation play-off. Mark O’Brien scored an early goal to set Eire Og on their way and they led by eight points at the end of the first quarter.

Barry’s first score was a goal from Emmet Conroy but with Ross Nolan in excellent form Eire Og responded with three fine points. Eire Og led by eight at the break and scored the first three points of the second half – and the game was over as a contest after that.

Noel Rogers grabbed a late goal for Barry’s in the final ten minutes but it was too little too late for the home side.

Scorers – Eire Og: R Nolan (0-6), L Creaton (0-4), M O’Brien (1-1), Colm Lavin, Ciaran Lavin, S Jordan, F Nolan, B Nolan, L Keenan, P Doory (0-1 each).

St Barry’s: E Conroy, N Rogers (1-0 each), D Keenan, R McGowan (0-1 each).

Ace Andrew

Michael Glavey’s 3-24 St Ronan’s 1-3

Michael Glavey’s powered into the IFC quarter-finals when they easily dismissed the challenge of St Ronan’s at Ballinlough.

St Ronan’s now face a relegation play-off against St Barry’s while Glavey’s will meet St Dominic’s. Glavey’s were always in control and with Andrew Glennon, Stephen Comer and Caoileann Fitzmaurice outstanding they led at half-time by 0-13 to 1-1, with Anthony Wallace scoring the St Ronan’s goal.

Whatever chance Ronan’s had disappeared when Ronan Murphy grabbed Glavey’s first goal early in the second half. Then Andrew Glennon scored two goals in the final ten minutes as the Glavey’s attack ran amok.

Scorers – Michael Glavey’s: A Glennon (2-5), S Comer (0-7), R Murphy (1-2), C Fitzmaurice (0-3), S Burke, S Fagan (0-2 each), C Hussey, C Ruane, G Patterson, (0-1 each).

St Ronan’s: A Wallace (1-1), G O’Daly, J Keaveney (0-1 each).

Weir wears Rossies down

Bord Gais Energy All-Ireland U-21 B Hurling Semi-Final

Wicklow 1-14 Roscommon 0-11

Wicklow always looked the likely winners of this All-Ireland semi-final played at Athleague on Saturday last. Wicklow were a little sharper up front and with Gavin Weir and Diarmuid Masterson dominating the central positions, the Garden County edged ahead by 0-7 to 0-4 at half-time.    

  Liam Kilcline, Warren Boyle and Chris Duignan were doing well for Roscommon but the crucial score came shortly after half-time when Cian O’Byrne scored the only goal of the game. 

  This left Roscommon with a mountain to climb and although they battled back with some fine scores they could never reel Wicklow in.

  Indeed Roscommon’s cause was not helped when Chris Duignan was very unlucky to have been sent off in the 50th minute for a second yellow card offence.

  Roscommon battled back well but they could never get closer than five points. Roscommon were awarded a penalty in injury-time but sub Daniel Glynn saw his shot saved by the Wicklow goalkeeper Robert Fitzgerald.

  Best for Roscommon on the day were Liam Kilcline, Cathal Kenny, Warren Boyle, Cathal Dolan, Chris Duignan and sub Daniel Glynn.

  Scorers – Wicklow: G Weir (0-7), C O’Byrne (1-2), P Doran (0-3), P Doyle, J Cranley (0-1) each.

Roscommon: C Dolan (0-4), G Glynn (0-2), W Boyle, C Duignan, G Egan, M Beirne, G Downey (0-1) each.

Roscommon: K Kellehan; K Crehan, L Kilcline, J Martin; B Fallon, C Dolan, W Boyle; L Fehily, C Duignan; G Egan, M Beirne, J Henry; G Downey, A Finnerty, C Kenny. Subs: D Keaveney for Finnerty, D Glynn for Henry, P Dolan for Beirne, P Joyce for Egan.

 

It’s the big soccer kick-off

This weekend sees the beginning of the 46th season of football for the Roscommon & District League. This season thirty teams will play in three divisions of the league which is an increase of four from last season.

  Two new teams from Roscommon Town will join the league, namely Roscommon Youths and Roscommon United.

  Lough Harps rejoin the league after a one-season absence while St John’s Athletic and Moylough will have two teams in the League. Fohenagh have decided not to enter a team this season.

  The Premier Division will have ten teams: Ballinasloe Town, Ballaghaderreen, Moore United, Skyvalley Rovers, Castlerea Celtic, Cloonfad United, Dysart, Ballymoe FC, newly-promoted St John’s Athletic and the Milltown Dunmore side MD Town.

  Division 1 will have nine teams, as last season: Ahascragh United, the Brazilian side Brazukas, Glen Celtic from Glenamaddy, Kilkerrin United, Loughglynn United, Shiven Rovers from Newbridge, Rahara Rovers, Ballaghaderreen and Ballinasloe Town.

  Division two will be the largest division with eleven sides playing in it.

  Teams involved include last season’s Division 2 Cup winners CP Ajax from Castleplunkett. Also involved are the Kilconnell side KC Celtic, Cloonfad United, Ballinlough side Lough Harps, Moylough 79, MD Town, Roscommon United, Moore United, Skyvalley Rovers, St John’s Athletic and Roscommon Town Youths.

  All teams will compete in a two-round League and also the Roscommon & District League Challenge Cup and Divisional Cup competitions.

  Most of the teams will also play in the Umbro sponsored FAI Junior Cup and the Connacht Cup.

  Overall no player can complain of a lack of football as they will be in action from this weekend until some time next May.

  It’s going to be a busy time for Fixtures Secretary Gerry Tully and other members of the Roscommon & District League.

  Unlike previous seasons Referees Inspector Owen Brennan will be appointing the referees this season.

  Like in other seasons a huge commitment will be required from club officials, managers, players referees, etc.

  Good luck to all in the new season.

Golf News 28th August

Boyle Golf Club

Well done to Niall Kearney who won his King Harmon semi-final against Seamus Gallagher and is through to the final against Lionel Lynn.

Competitions for this week are the Men’s Competition on Thursday night, while Friday’s will be the Lady President’s Scramble & Barbeque; please put your name on the noticeboard. Sunday is Lady President’s Day and we send best wishes to Liz Dwyer for a great day.

The Lady President’s Prize to the men also takes place on Sunday. Presentation of prizes will take place on Sunday evening.

Carrick-on-Shannon Golf Club

It’s been a fantastic Open Week and thanks to everyone who took part, both members and visitors. This week’s competition is the Drumsna Garden Centre Scramble. Lidl Lynch and

Garvey Cup: Just a reminder that all first round games are to be played by end of this week.

Castlerea Golf Club

Marian Caulfield staged the second day of her Lady Captain’s Prize on Saturday in glorious weather conditions.

The following were the prize-winners – 1st: Mary Gunning, 2nd: Mamie Creighton, 3rd: Kay O'Loughlin, Gross: Mary Colleary. 1st eighteen was won by Celia Mulligan and the winner of the 2nd eighteen was Mary Kenny. New Members prize-winners were Catherine Darcy and Austin Waldron Jnr.

Presentation on the night was attended by a large selection of members and guests. A very enjoyable night was had by all.

Congratulations to the Connacht Shield team who defeated Loughrea and who now play Tuam in the zone final on Monday 31st August.

Next weekend the club is running a fundraising classic over the three days, Friday 28th, Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th of August. The funds will go towards the costs involved in our participation in All-Ireland Mixed Foursomes.

Please contact Eamonn on 086-6080544 for details of timesheet. The competition is open to both ladies and gents, with a 3-person team, any combination. The entry fee is €75 per team.

We also remind members to continue selling their tickets for the club draw which takes place on September 6th.

Roscommon Golf Club

A successful August Open Week has come to an end with good numbers entering in the men’s competitions especially and great scores recorded.

At the final presentation of prizes on Sunday night both Captain Ken Kearney and Lady Captain Marie McManus thanked everyone who participated in the competitions and urged members to support the local businesses who generously sponsor the competitions. List of prize-winners in our next issue.

Roscommon Junior golfers hit the headlines during the week. Congratulations to Kevin Connaughton, winner of the Connacht Junior Close U-12 Championship and to Cian O'Connor, runner-up. The finals were held in Galway Bay Golf Club.

Congratulations and good luck to Allan Hill who is one of the three boys selected to represent Ireland at the Italian International Under 16 Championships in Golf Club Biella from 1st-3rd September 2015.

A great contingent of Roscommon Junior Boys took part in Munster Under 14 Amateur Open in East Cork Golf Club, Midleton and they got a special mention from the organisers.

Joseph Finnegan got the prize for the best nett score and all the boys thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Please note that there is no open competition on this Friday 28th August. Instead there is a qualifying round for the Crumlin Rumble for members only. Teams of 3 costing €15 per team. Please support.

Good luck to the Ladies’ Senior Foursomes team who are playing in the Connacht Final in Sligo on Saturday.

EVANS ON ATTACK

Campaign by ‘two or three’ fathers of players

John Evans has made fierce criticism of events leading up to the end of his tenure as Roscommon senior football manager during a controversial radio interview.

In the interview, on the RTE Radio ‘Game On’ programme on Tuesday night, Mr Evans claimed that there was a campaign against him by “two or three fathers who thought that their sons should have been on the team and who thought they were better footballers than they were.”

Mr. Evans, who announced last week that he would not be going forward for another term after it became clear that there was some opposition to his re-appointment, claimed that there had been an orchestrated campaign against him.

“There were a few people who actively canvassed the clubs not to re-instate me” he alleged. The ex-manager alleged that Seamus Sweeney, the vice-chairman of the County Board, had campaigned against his re-instatement and that he (Sweeney) did not have confidence in his management.

Evans said: “The Chairman must be your right-hand man and the vice-chairman (Seamus Sweeney) didn’t have any confidence in me and if he was going to be the new chairman (i.e. succeed Michael Fahey at Convention) then it would not work.

“There were going to be three or four new officials on the incoming executive and it would not have been an ideal situation so I hadn’t the belly to go on to be honest” he told RTE.

John Evans said that he had the 100% support of the players and that they were upset to see him leave.

“All the players bought into what we were doing to a man. Our style of football was improving. Our scoring rate was well up from 1-10 and 1-11 to 1-18 and 1-20 and 0-24, etc.

“Confidence was growing in the squad and obviously people wanted up to progress faster. People are not giving these young lads a chance to mature. I still don’t think they will mature for another two or three years in fact” he said.

John Evans said that he had received a massive reaction from the players to his departure. “I have pages and pages of texts here from the lads. It makes me sad reading them but I will always have those to look back on. We had a great three years and I got very close to them (the players).”

During the interview the Kerry man wasn’t probed about his championship record, which included defeats against Sligo and Fermanagh this season – or about the departure of two of his selectors, Basil Mannion and Gay Sheeran.

The presenter of the programme, Hugh Cahill, and studio guest former Mayo player Conor Mortimer, were also strongly critical of those in Roscommon GAA who, by their opposition to his re-appointment, effectively signalled the end of John Evans’ term as Roscommon manager.

No one was asked for an alternative view although one text was read out after the interview supporting the decision of John Evans not to go forward again.

Speaking to The Roscommon People on Wednesday, Seamus Sweeney, the vice-chairman of Roscommon County Board, who was mentioned by John Evans in his interview, did not wish to be drawn into responding to the former manager’s allegations.

However Mr. Sweeney had this to say: “It’s now time to move on. The executive now have a very important job to do. My energy and that of the executive will be focussed on finding the best person to manage our very talented group of players.”

Seamus Duke Sports Column

EVANS: THE AFTERMATH

The dramatic events that saw John Evans deciding not to let his name go before the County Board last Wednesday night week could have been avoided.

Firstly it must be said that John Evans did a very good job in the three years that he was in charge of Roscommon and back to back promotions in the league was a superb achievement.

However, as the chairperson of the County Board said at last week’s meeting, it is championship performances that matter – and John Evans had fallen short in that regard.

The defeats to Sligo and Fermanagh had annoyed Roscommon football people and there was a groundswell of opinion among the clubs that Evans had taken the team as far as he could.

If the County Board executive had made a few phone calls to take get the views of the clubs in the wake of the Fermanagh defeat it would have saved last week’s events taking place.

Someone obviously decided (in the genuine best interests of Roscommon GAA) that it should be recommended that John Evans continue on for another year – without listening to what was being said throughout the county.

When it became obvious that there was not a lot of support for John Evans, he had to be informed, and he did the right thing by not letting his name go forward.

He had done a good job in his term and it would have been undignified if there had been a debate on his tenure and he had lost on a vote. He certainly did not deserve that.

On a personal basis I found John Evans to be co-operative and forthcoming in my dealings with him and I thank him sincerely for that.

It is also clear that since his departure many of the players under his tutelage are very sorry to see him go and many of the panel liked him and would have wanted him to stay on.

Many people will say that he deserved to get a shot at managing the team in Division One. He got them there after all – but the championship record was not good and, save for a one-point defeat at the hands of Mayo last year, there has been no joy in the premier competition.

There are also many people in Roscommon GAA who feel that John Evans has gone as far as he can with this team and that it is time for a change.

His term was up after the Fermanagh game and maybe the best course of action at that stage was for the executive to look at all options as they did in the case of Nigel Dineen and the U-21s last year.

But, as the saying goes, we are where we are, and now the search must start for a successor to John Evans.

There are many names being bandied about. I am not going to engage in speculation here this week except to say that we have to get a top class county senior team manager to progress this team.

Yes, there are plenty of good young footballers out there, but the job of achieving success, especially in the championship, is a huge one.

Remember that Roscommon have not beaten Galway or Mayo in the championship in 15 years and that’s just not good enough for a lot of fans in the county.

To add to that we are now in Division One and we face seven very difficult games in the league, starting in February.

We need someone who will embrace that challenge and relish it. I have been in the local media game for over 25 years and at times we are treated like ‘the bogeyman’.

The local media gives massive coverage to gaelic games and seldom if ever criticises anything that goes on.

I love Roscommon football and was born and reared into it. I have seen scores of team managers come and go and there will always be controversy in the GAA.

People often accuse the media of having an agenda but I can assure those in authority and anyone else for that matter that there was no media agenda in this or any other issues for that matter.

We have a duty to the people of the county to report fairly on what happens – and sometime give our opinion – and that’s what we do. If people don’t agree with that opinion then that’s fine, but it is always given in honesty.

I will, like everyone else, be hoping that whoever is appointed as the new team manager is a huge success.

Roscommon footballers need to be challenging to win Connacht titles and hopefully that will happen soon.

I want to wish John Evans well and thank him for his contribution, which was extremely positive.

Roscommon GAA will go on long after the current executive or John Evans or Seamus Duke is around – and rightly so too.

Tony Mac Talks GAA

His CV is enhanced, but it was the right time for Evans to go

Now we need a root and branch review because underage standards are slipping

Since last week’s column went to press John Evans has stepped down as Roscommon senior team manager and I feel he did the right thing because he had probably come to the end of the road in Roscommon.

There is no doubt that John Evans did a good job as the manager of the team and will rightly go away with an enhanced CV.

But sometimes there is a right time to go and he has made the right choice. For me it was highly significant and that both Gay Sheeran and Basil Mannion had decided to step down as selectors.

John Evans’ big legacy is that he got Roscommon from Division Three to Division One but it has to be noted that Division Two this year was not particularly strong.

The only team from Division Two to make the All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals were Kildare and we saw what happened to them.

Galway were the only team in Division Two to perform in any way in the championship, recording two wins and a creditable performance against Mayo. I just felt that after the championship loss to Fermanagh John Evans never admitted to any mistakes and that he felt he had a right to continue as the Roscommon manager without question.

Now himself and his backroom team were high profile and I felt that, given such poor performances in the championship, he had questions to answer before he could be ratified again.

John Evans will feel happy with his tenure in Roscommon and especially with his league success. Both parties must now be ready to move on and start afresh. Now it is critical that we get a good management set-up in place as it is a crucial time for this Roscommon panel.

There will be rumours of all kinds flying around over the next few weeks but the County Board must take their time and now ensure that not only do they make the right management appointment but that the proper structures are in place for this management to succeed.

It is now time to take a root and branch review of all structures and levels within the association in the county. Our standards at minor and underage level seem to be slipping and this needs to be addressed urgently.

There have been good structures at that level in the past and instead of progressing in the past couple of years we seem to be regressing. This cannot be allowed to continue and we need to be able to harness all the available talent we have, because we are a small county in population terms.

Local club scene

Last weekend the local club football championships rumbled on with Roscommon Gaels and St Brigid’s qualifying for the semi-final stages in the senior championship.

It looks highly likely that Padraig Pearses and Clann na nGael will also progress, despite some patchy form.

Group B is more interesting with Castlerea, Strokestown or Boyle fighting it out for the quarter-final spots.

While the format looked very interesting at the start of the year, very few of the games have generated much excitement. I suppose that we will only get real championship fare when we come to the knock-out stages.

Kerry to win

We are now coming to the business end of the All-Ireland series in hurling and football. Last Sunday’s hurling semi-final was just a fantastic spectacle and showed that when hurling is played right at the highest level it is some sport.

Croke Park will be disappointed that Brian Gavin did not make a draw of this fantastic game but Galway were worthy winners and they will be real live contenders in the All-Ireland final.

This Sunday Kerry and Tyrone’s clash in the football semi-final will not be as exciting but it is a very interesting prospect nevertheless.

As I said last week Tyrone are one of the only teams in the country who do not have a ‘Kerry complex’ – that is they are not afraid to beat them.

However I don’t think that Tyrone have the quality all over the pitch to live with this Kerry team.

James O’Donoghue will be a massive loss despite all the forward talent in the Kerry squad and it levels the playing field somewhat, but I just cannot oppose Kerry.

The Tiernan McCann affair has been badly handled by Croke Park and will only stiffen the Tyrone resolve and this will definitely be a feisty encounter.

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC and IFC Previews

Strokestown v Kilmore in Kilglass on Sunday at 1 pm

This game was postponed last weekend as there was a bereavement in the Kilmore parish.

Strokestown are improving all the time and with a lot of their major players returning from injury and from their travels abroad they could well be the dark horses in this year’s senior championship.

They have a squad of quality young players and they should win this local derby. Kilmore are a side that have become used to a relegation dog-fight in recent years and it looks that way for them again this year.

They are renowned championship battlers but Strokestown should have too much for them in this game and they should take a major step towards a quarter-final place with a win here.

Prediction: Strokestown.

Intermediate FC Previews

Group A: St Dominic’s v Tulsk on Sunday in Kilbride at 1.30 pm

Tulsk are looking good this year and are in the semi-finals without too much fuss. St Dominic’s are in the quarter-finals and they could even get to the semi-finals if they could win here.

I presume that Tulsk will be going flat out again and if they do they should win it.

Prediction: Tulsk.

Group A: St Aidan’s v Fuerty on Sunday in Kiltoom at 1.30 pm

It has been a nightmare season so far for St Aidan’s who find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table.

Fuerty need to win to keep up their battle for a semi-final place.

Aidan’s have been beaten in every game but they have not been playing too badly and they could cause a surprise here. Fuerty should edge it – but it could be close.

Prediction: Fuerty.

Group A: Oran v St Michael’s on Sunday in Castlerea at 1.30 pm

Oran need another win to be certain of a play-off place and maybe even inclusion in the semi-finals.

They played well against high-flying Tulsk last weekend and although they are short a few players through injury they should be able to get over the challenge of St Michael’s.

Prediction: Oran.

Group B: St Barry’s v Eire Og in Tarmonbarry at 6.45 pm

St Barry’s are not out of it but this is the last chance saloon for them. They were well beaten by Clann on Monday and they will be outsiders to beat an Eire Og team who were unlucky against Michael Glavey’s last Sunday.

Barry’s at home will give it everything but it would be a surprise if Eire Og do not win it. Prediction: Eire Og.

Group B: Clann na nGael v Kilbride at Johnstown on Sunday at 6.45 pm

Fresh from their good win on Monday evening against St Barry’s, Clann will be formidable but surely Kilbride, who were given a big fright by St Ronan’s last weekend, will be good enough to eke out a narrow win.

Conor Devaney is the main threat and he should prove the difference.

Prediction: Kilbride.

Group B: Michael Glavey’s v St Ronan’s on Sunday in Ballinlough at 6.45 pm

Glavey’s have been a revelation in the IFC this summer and they should complete their campaign unbeaten when they face St Ronan’s on home soil.

Ronan’s almost caught Kilmore last week but it would be a major shock if Glavey’s were to be turned over here.

Prediction: Michael Glavey’s.

Nominee ‘within four weeks at latest’

The Roscommon County Board executive will choose a committee to seek out a successor to John Evans as Roscommon senior football team manager and will have a name to put before the clubs of the county “within four weeks at the latest and sooner if possible”.

That was the news given to delegates at a packed Roscommon County Board meeting held on Wednesday night of last week just hours after the dramatic statement released by John Evans in which the Kerry man revealed that he would not be seeking a further term as senior team manager.

County Board Chairman Michael Fahey paid tribute to the work done by John Evans during his three seasons as senior team manager. Mr Fahey said that in 2012 Roscommon were having difficulty in recruiting a team manager.

He (Mr Fahey) called John Evans, who was on holiday at the time. The two men met later in Birr and Mr. Evans was subsequently offered the job. The County Board Chairperson said that John Evans had brought on Roscommon football a considerable way from very humble beginnings.

Mr Fahey explained that there were only 11 players at the first training session under Evans and that the new manager had to ring around to 16 different counties before he could get a team (Laois) to play in a challenge game.

The Chairman said that there were many innovations that John Evans helped to bring to the county, not least the new gym at the Roscommon GAA headquarters in Roscommon town.

Mr. Fahey said that John Evans had left the Roscommon senior football team in a much better state than when he had come in and his efforts should be acknowledged by all GAA people in the county.

He said that a lot of the stuff written on social media and elsewhere in recent weeks and months about alleged rows and incidents before championship games were totally wrong and added that no such incidents had taken place. “Some of the stuff that was written about that was awful and totally wrong” he commented.

Mr. Fahey said that while Roscommon’s league record under John Evans was exemplary, the Roscommon performances in the championship had not been as good.

“Championship performance is what matters in Gaelic Football and it is a pity that we did not do better in the championship under John Evans” he said.

Mick Fahey also praised the efforts that the inter-county players put in. “Most people do not understand the commitment that is being put in by our county players. They train three nights a week and are in the gym three nights a week. They are lucky if they get a day off at all.

“They get very little expenses and all they want is to win for Roscommon football. They were more annoyed and ashamed than anyone after the games against Sligo and Fermanagh. They are fantastic people for the sacrifices that they make without any reward.”

Looking to the future, he said: “We have a huge job on our hands now. We need to stay in Division One of the league and to improve our championship performances…I am appealing to clubs and to others if they have identified a suitable candidate then make sure they are willing to let their names go forward and we will look at the list of candidates and come up with a name for the clubs within four weeks at the very latest – and sooner if possible” he concluded.

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