Sunday 18 November 2018

Evans wants swift Rossies improvement

Cliona Foley

JOHN EVANS says he will not be hanging around as Roscommon senior football manager if he doesn't make some progress within the next two seasons.

The former Tipperary boss, originally from Kerry, was something of a surprise appointment for the Rossies last night, when an emergency county board meeting ratified his appointment.

He has come in for just two years initially and told the Irish Independent he was happy with that timescale because "if fellas aren't listening to you by then, there is no point in going any further."

Some other high-profile names -- DCU's Niall Moyna and former Monaghan and Meath boss Seamus McEnaney -- had been linked to the job, which had been vacant since Des Newton resigned after their championship exit to Tyrone in the second round of the All-Ireland qualifiers in mid-July.

There was frustration locally that it was taking so long to find Newton's replacement, but things appear to have moved very quickly in the past week.

Given that Evans' most recent involvement was with the Meath footballers this summer, there was speculation that McEnaney could yet be part of Evans' new back-room team. But Evans ruled that out last night and said he has come in with a completely "blank canvas."

"I still have to sort out my back-room team and will do that in the coming weeks after consulting with some people locally."

He said that working with the Royals last summer, taking up a back-room role with them after leaving Tipperary mid-season, had helped to reignite his enthusiasm for the inter-county game.

"I'd been involved with Tipperary's seniors, U-21s and minors for five years, I badly needed something new and Meath certainly helped to enthuse me," Evans said.

He may have come from left-field to take the Roscommon job, but Evans is no stranger to their senior and underage players as Tipperary also operated in Division 3 last season.

While David Power managed the Tipperary minors to a historic All-Ireland football final in 2011, Evans was involved in an advisory capacity and the Premiers' minors beat Roscommon in the semi-finals that summer.

"I've done my research and I know the talent that is in Roscommon," Evans said. "There are a lot of very good people working in the county as well. Fergal O'Donnell and Ross Shannon have a great track record and are involved with the minors and Nigel Dineen, who is managing the U-21s, also appears to be very efficient.

"There are clearly good people involved at all levels."

Evans first came to national prominence by leading his native club Laune Rangers to All-Ireland glory in 1996 and was then credited with a great improvement in Tipperary's football fortunes.

He managed Tipp to back-to-back league titles in 2008 and '09, guiding them to the heights of Division 2, but he quit last March when they were struggling in Division 3.

Irish Independent

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