Sunday 27 May 2018

Roscommon joint-manager experiment ends after one season as O'Donnell resigns after 'concerted effort to disparage' coaching team

Roscommon joint managers Fergal O'Donnell and Kevin McStay. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
Roscommon joint managers Fergal O'Donnell and Kevin McStay. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

One half of the Roscomonn joint management team has resigned, with Fergal O'Donnell and selectors David Casey and Stephen Bohan stepping down from their roles.

O'Donnell, who led Roscommon to a Connacht title in 2010 as sole manager, took control of the team along with Kevin McStay in 2016, but suffered a disappointing loss in the fourth round of the qualifiers to Clare.

In a statement published by RTE, O'Donnell said he and his colleagues would not return in 2017 'with a view to removing the inevitable distraction that would result from a potentially divisive contest for the position of manager between myself and Kevin [McStay].'

He added: "Recently, a concerted effort has been made (outside of management and players) to undermine and disparage us and it is especially disappointing and damaging that those involved purport to be concerned about the promotion of GAA within the county."

The Roscommon County Board have confirmed that they will meet tonight to discuss the management team for 2017.

Despite a championship campaign that failed to live up to the promise shown at stages during the league, the pair were expected to continue for the 2017 campaign.

However, that changed in the last number of weeks as unease built as to whether the unusual scenario that sees both men take joint responsibility for the team was the best way forward.

Even though McStay and selector Liam McHale remain with the county, Roscommon have to go through the process of appointing a new manager as the McStay-O'Donnell ticket was ratified by the clubs as a pair.

It's thought that even if McStay wanted to take the role on his own he would have to follow the relevant procedures.

Roscommon had thought of the McStay-O'Donnell as something of a project as they were given an initial three-year period in charge, with the option of extending that to a fourth season, which would have brought them to the end of the 2019 campaign.

Any change at the top would also mean more upheaval for the county's talented squad and leave them facing into the prospect of a third different management team in as many seasons after Kerry native John Evans stepped down at the end of the 2015 season.

The 2016 campaign had started brightly for the Connacht men. Facing into their first season in the top flight of league football since 2003, Roscommon made a flying start.

They recovered from defeat to Monaghan in the opening round to beat Kerry for the first time in the league as well as Cork, Down and Donegal in quick succession.

Those results were enough to secure them a league semi-final spot, which they would lose to the Kingdom.

Despite the promise of some of their league performances, their championship form was patchy at best.

They almost fell victim to what would have been the biggest shock in the history of the championship when New York got to within a single point of them in Gaelic Park back in May.

They proved too strong for Leitrim and eventually saw off Sligo in the Connacht semi-final despite falling behind early on.

However, they couldn't find any level of form in the provincial decider and eventually went down to Galway after a replay. Their campaign ended in disappointing fashion as Clare beat them by six points in the qualifiers.


Meanwhile, Tipperary GAA has suffered a blow with the news that talented young dual star Alan Tynan is to concentrate on rugby for the foreseeable future.

Tynan played in the All-Ireland minor football and hurling finals of 2015 but had also carved out a reputation for himself as an outstanding rugby player with Roscrea in the Leinster Schools Cup and he has opted to throw his lot in with Munster's development squad.

"Ideally, we would love to have Alan Tynan as part of our set-up for next year, but he wants to try to build a career for himself in professional sport and we fully understand and appreciate the decision he has taken," Tipperary football selector Tommy Twomey said.

"We wish Alan all the best with his rugby ambitions, but if things don't work out for him in that regard the door is always open for him with the Tipperary football set-up."

Irish Independent

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