The club submitted a letter at Thursday night’s New York GAA meeting formally announcing their decision, while petitioning to have their Junior B side regraded to the Junior A ranks, a move the Junior Division approved.
Roscommon cited a lack of players as the reason for their withdrawal, particularly as they were trying to operate two teams.
“It is a sad situation, but we had to face reality,” club official Terry Connaughton said.
The Roscommon club reformed in 1986 after being inactive for several years, achieving their greatest success in 1992, when they captured the New York Senior B championship. Connaughton fears that Roscommon’s demise may not be an isolated event.
“We could be the first of a few clubs to go in the next year or two,” he said.
Roscommon were one of the teams that sponsored a motion to the New York GAA Rules Convention that sought to reinstate the weekend player rule. When that proposal was soundly defeated, Roscommon “looked at the numbers” and made what Connaughton termed, “a tough decision.”
The Junior A division that Roscommon joins is going through something of an overhaul. At Thursday’s Junior Division meeting Down stayed up in the A division, avoiding relegation, leaving the A division with 13 teams, while 11 teams are scheduled to compete in the B group, including the newly affiliated FDNY team. More movement is likely with one more team expected to step up to the A division.
HURLERS WITHOUT MANAGER
Meanwhile, the news out of the New York hurler’s camp is not good. Although their footballing counterparts have been busily preparing for their May 15 clash with Galway, New York’s hurlers have yet to even name a manager.
With Antrim, traditionally Ulster’s strongest hurling county, coming to town the Sunday following Galway, time is not on New York’s side. Last season’s manager, Monty Maloney, has been approached but has so far been reluctant to jump back into the fray. No other candidates have stepped forward, putting New York’s challenge in jeopardy.
Last year’s run up was similarly slow to develop and the Gotham squad still managed to give a decent account of themselves versus Down. However, Antrim figure to be a much more difficult proposition and these delays make an already tough assignment that much more difficult.
The GAA’s commitment to the Randalls Island project remains unresolved pending a meeting between lawyers representing RIGS and the New York GAA. Both sets of attorneys are expected to address the NYGAA delegates preceding a decision by the clubs regarding their potential investment in the project, which would see a GAA headquarters built on the city-owned island.
Time is now a critical factor as RIGS attempts to secure a contract. Aimee Boden, executive director of the Randalls Island Sports Foundation, told the Echo that recent meetings with RIGS have “been positive,” leaving her “cautiously optimistic.”
RIGS President Monty Maloney believes that the New York GAA “should find some way to contribute “to RIGS and he is not sure that going to the clubs is the right approach. “The clubs are struggling,” Maloney notes, “and you couldn’t be going to them at a worse time.”
With the Randall’s Island situation still in a state of flux the New York GAA continues to prepare for the season. Chairman Seamus Dooley is leading the effort to improve the facilities at Gaelic Park for both players and spectators.
A new dressing room has been tentatively purchased by the GAA pending MTA approval. Teams have been forced to queue up as one team waits for another to vacate the locker room, so the additional space is badly needed. The construction trailer that was recently acquired will be retrofitted to suit its new function.
Also in the works is a canopy that would provide protection from the sun for up to 250 people. Dooley is working on getting sponsorship for the awning to help defray costs. Needed Fire Department approval is not expected to be a problem. Chairman Dooley reports that Manhattan College have been agreeable to the New York GAA’s plans.
Also in the works for the 2005 season is a full schedule of Saturday evening matches at Gaelic Park and the GAA is looking into regularly scheduled minor games after the completion of Manhattan College’s sports calendar.
The New York Senior team that defeated Sligo to win the FBD Cup last October will receive their medals on Sunday at 4 p.m. at Fiona’s on 86th Street and First Avenue. Connaght Council Chairman Tommy Moran will make the presentation.
New York’s matches with Clare have been set for Wednesday, April 20, at 4 p.m. and Saturday, April 23, at 5 p.m. Both matches will be played at Gaelic Park.