Fergie O’Donnell last night stepped down as joint-manager of the Roscommon senior football team, which could pave the way for Kevin McStay to take over the position in a sole capacity writes John Fogarty.
In a statement released last night, O’Donnell, who guided the county to a Connacht title in 2010 as manager and ’01 as captain, announced he was resigning along with selectors Stephen Bohan and David Casey.
Interestingly, O’Donnell claimed there was a “concerted effort” made to “undermine and disparage” the trio who had been working alongside McStay and Liam McHale this season. Hel explained he was quitting so as to avoid “the inevitable distraction that would result from a potentially divisive contest” between him and McStay for the managerial position.
The statement read: "It is with much regret and disappointment that myself, Stephen Bohan and David Casey have decided to resign from our roles as joint manager and selectors with the Roscommon senior football team. Having been asked 12 months ago to contribute to making Roscommon a force again over a three-year term, we were wholeheartedly committed to achieving that goal.
"Our decision to depart now is made in the best interests of Roscommon football and 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).
"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.
"We want to thank the backroom team, the county board, our generous sponsors, our loyal supporters, Club Rossie and most importantly the players for their dedication, sacrifice and commitment to Roscommon’s cause.
"Roscommon has a hugely talented group of footballers. Now, as supporters, we share the hope that they will continue to learn, develop and ultimately fulfil their potential. To this end, we wish the team every success in the future."
It is understood issues had arisen during the year when the Mayo pair of McStay and McHale found themselves outnumbered on a number of key decisions by their Roscommon colleagues O’Donnell, Bohan and Casey.
Roscommon retained their Division 1 status this year, doing enough to reach a semi-final where they were heavily beaten by Kerry. They almost stumbled in New York before beating Sligo only to lose comprehensively to Galway in a Connacht final replay. A week later, Clare sent them out of the championship in a fourth round qualifier.