Former Armagh footballer Aidan O’Rourke has pulled out of the running to become the next Roscommon senior football manager.
O’Rourke requested more time to finalise his backroom on Monday evening, minutes before he was due to be ratified at a monthly meeting of Roscommon County Board. He subsequently informed County Board Chairman Seamus Sweeney yesterday (Tuesday) that he was withdrawing from the process.
Despite this latest setback, Roscommon GAA added that it was “fully committed to completing the selection process”.
The statement from Roscommon GAA, released on Tuesday evening, read as follows:
“Roscommon GAA wish to clarify the situation around the appointment of a senior football team manager.
“The process to select a manager commenced on September 10th when the committee was ratified by Roscommon County Board and given the mandate to recruit a new senior team manager. The committee consisted of Chairman Seamus Sweeney, Secretary Brian Carroll and County Board Treasurer David O’Connor, and they were joined by Niall Carty, former Roscommon senior team captain, and Ciarán Heneghan, a former Roscommon senior footballer.
“Following a five-week consultation period involving a number of candidates, this included the sole nominee from the clubs who withdrew from the process and a second Roscommon-based candidate who also withdrew from the process having been offered an interview.
“Interviews were conducted during week six and last night, Monday, October 22, the Roscommon GAA Management Committee expected to be in a position to put the name of the preferred candidate for consideration to the club delegates.
“Prior to last night’s meeting, the chairman Seamus Sweeney received a phone call from the preferred candidate requesting a 24-hour deferral. This was conveyed to the county board delegates at last night’s meeting.
“Our preferred candidate was Aidan O’Rourke. His team was to consist of Mike McGurn (Strength and Conditioning), two Roscommon coach/selectors and a head coach, Karl Lacy (former Donegal player).
“The reason for the delay was because of unexpected doubts in relation to Karl Lacy’s availability as head coach. Unfortunately, this morning the county chairman received a call from Aidan O’Rourke informing him that he was withdrawing from the process.
“The Roscommon GAA Management Committee are very disappointed at the turn of events but are fully committed to completing the selection process. However, the committee is concerned at attempts that have been made to influence the outcome of the process over recent days. The committee believes that these events have undermined the integrity of the process and potentially affected our ability to attract a new manager.
“In addition, some of the public commentary on social media has been extremely unhelpful.”
It is understood that there has been a concern among Roscommon players in recent weeks about the prospect of replacing Kevin McStay with a manager from outside the county.
Seán McDermott, a member of last year’s panel and the team’s most capped player, took to social media over the weekend, suggesting that there were plenty of people inside the county “well good enough” to do the job.
Roscommon are due to open their Division One League campaign against Mayo in Castlebar at the end of January. However, the county is no closer to knowing who their main man will be in the dugout at MacHale Park on January 26th.
An appointment is not now expected until early November at the earliest, which will leave the Rossies playing catch-up in terms of their preparations for a daunting league campaign.