Ewan MacKenna’s article in thetimes.co.uk is an excellent read for all Roscommon people who support our teams and the Club Rossie initiatives (click here to read in full).
Some key comments include:
- But while easy to focus on that swashbuckling gameplan that has seen them average 20 points per game, the behind-the-scenes efforts might be less entertaining yet not only are they more important but they are also a lesson for everyone else struggling in the depths.
- …yet those in Roscommon were ready for a rapid and complete overhaul, from how they produce players, to facilities, to coaching development, to fundraising. That last element is key, for as much as the GAA proclaims to be, and can act, amateur, winning now costs massively.
- “We’re nailed to the ceiling down here,” laughs David O’Connor of Club Rossie who was, and is, behind what is essentially the financial arm of the county board. “Just huge excitement. But looking at what we’ve done … you need that expertise and we’ve gone down the corporate route, giving a clear message to people. Sure there’s a lot of work to do still but people like to see a bit of planning. Proper projects gets them excited.”
- Figures from that 2013 slideshow inform that income was made up of €131,078 of gate receipts, €63,000 of sponsorship, and fundraising of €200,000. But while that totalled €394,078, it meant Roscommon lost €174,922 the previous season. Yet Club Rossie is targeting a fundraising take of €619,500 this year and both cash and know-how from 1972 Connacht winner Tom Hunt have been huge. After all, he’s a man that long ago left for Alaska, made a fortune in building in San Francisco, and is behind a six-figure sponsorship deal that’s transformed the Roscommon set-up. It’s meant that last year the county was able to spend €717,097 on running their intercounty teams. And, beyond that, such numbers allowed for other reforms that have changed how well they play the game, via their underage coaching work, at through to the support network for their new management at senior level.
- “We’ve a dedicated fan base of 2,200 members which is a strong core group,” adds O’Connor (in fact it’s about one of every 28 people in the county). “It’s not easy, like everything else, but when they see achievement, people like to get behind something that’s successful. Now costs rise significantly as well and of our senior team, only four or five live in Roscommon. The rest are in Limerick, Dublin, Galway and have to be brought back for training and matches. But we’re hunting down business membership as well as private supporters, looking to get 50 or 60 on board. It’s all about proper management. Just take the Club Rossie bus that we got a lot of slack over. It’s had four away trips already this year, three overnights that could cost €1,500 with a private company. We’ve seven sponsors behind it. And it’s used for underage teams in the county. Clubs rent it, too, and on top of all that, you just cannot put a marketing value on it. It’s about looking for new and innovative avenues.”
- This is an era where everything needs to be bigger and better to gain credit, yet calling this team good, and not yet very good, shouldn’t be a put down. Roscommon are still a gust of wind on a muggy day, an opening of the curtains in a dusty room abandoned for a generation. Indeed after their brilliantly cold and logical approach, they’ve been the most heartwarming and hope-inspiring story football has known for some time.
Relive our win over Donegal!