Kevin McStay stands down as Roscommon manager
He guided county to 2017 Connacht title and back-to-back All-Ireland quarter-finals
Kevin McStay has stood down as manager of Roscommon. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Recognising the need for a new voice and direction in Roscommon football, and unable resolve some of the factors currently involved, Kevin McStay has called time on his position as manager.
Although in line to serve another two seasons, McStay leaves on amicable terms with the county board, and, interestingly, said his decision “marks my retirement from senior inter county football management” - thus ruling him out of the recently vacated Mayo management position, or indeed elsewhere.
After some speculation of player dissatisfaction, McStay met with Roscommon county board officials earlier in the day, and afterwards released a 1,400-word statement outlining the reasons behind his decision, also thanking all those who played a hand in Roscommon football during his previous three years in charge.
He came in on a joint ticket with Fergal O’Donnell in October 2015, before assuming full control of the side in 2016 and guiding Roscommon the Connacht title in 2017 - their first since 2010. This year they gained promotion back to division one, but suffered three heavy defeats to Tyrone, Donegal and Dublin in the Super8s.
“Our annual review of the 2018 season was completed recently,” began McStay, “and having considered the many factors involved in managing a county football squad, and unable to resolve enough of those factors to my satisfaction, I have decided that a change in management should take place immediately.
“I feel I have brought the team as far as I can at this stage and a new voice and direction is now required. The handover to the next management group will be orderly and without fuss.
“As is the natural way of things, some players will retire, others will opt out due to work and college commitments while yet more will want to travel. As I have remarked previously, life often gets in the way of football and we must recognise this.”
County chairman Seamus Sweeney had given McStay his full backing for a further two years, on the day of the Dublin defeat, but on reflection McStay clearly felt more inclined to walk away now.
“I’ve done three years, every one of them challenging and sometimes exhausting. In reviewing my time in charge I have to acknowledge the inordinate amount of time I spent dealing with financial and facility issues, personnel issues, media issues and the various contentious and controversial events that kept arising over those seasons.”
As a sort of parting shot, McStay said there were significant challenges for the GAA as a whole if smaller counties such as Roscommon are to remain competitive: “Success is what we all crave but we must understand our reality too. While Roscommon is a proud football county, it is a small county with a limited playing pool and deficits in resources and facilities.
“The budget required to finance success at the highest level demands year-round attention. Facilities, catering, kit and equipment, professional expertise and, especially, travel costs are major financial drainers and they are placing a massive burden on voluntary officers that is often overwhelming.
“These are the significant challenges the smaller GAA counties face. If the GAA is committed to ensuring all counties are, at a minimum, competitive, then they must be supported financially in a way that reflects the demands and the need for fairness, equity and solidarity.
“Leaving the safety of the pundits chair for the passion and glory of the dressing room and football field is a decision I’ll never regret. However, today marks my retirement from senior inter county football management.”
Sweeney added that he “reluctantly accepted Kevin’s resignation”, and that he had left Roscommon football in a good place. Like neighbours Mayo, meanwhile, the hunt now begins for a replacement.