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2020 helped us realise importance of team sport – O’Brien

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*Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

An awareness regarding the importance of team sport was realised in 2020.

In his address to Tuesday’s annual convention of the Clare ladies football board, chairman David O’Brien said, “This year has provided us all, with challenges in so many aspects of our lives. There is great credit due to all clubs, executives, Covid officers, all club members of LGFA and GAA whom by working together created a safe playing environment for all players, mentors and supporters in our county”.

Thanking the various county team managers he said “this year has highlighted the importance of team sport, the benefits of physical exercise and the creation of a sense of community and unity. The completion of our u-12, u-16 and adult championships provided some very enjoyable experiences for all involved. The progression of our adult team to an All-Ireland Intermediate semi-final brought a much needed boost to all of us at this time. This would not have been possible without the players dedication and commitment to our sport”.

Continuing the Cooraclare clubman said, “Covid restrictions unfortunately impacted our U14 and minor championships which were unable to be completed. We had plans in place for a new u12 format which did not proceed. Our underage county teams at under 14, under16 and minor each competed on one occasion. At one stage we had hoped that their Munster Finals would go ahead but they did not proceed, again due to restrictions. Our player development programmes also did not take place this year. The school football competitions did not reach fruition this year”.

“We look forward to 2021 with hope and anticipation, we are all aware of the ongoing challenges that are ahead of us at this time. This year has highlighted the importance of a functioning and practical fixture schedule which provides opportunities for all players to participate, progress and compete. This will require the continued commitment of the many people involved in our committees which will enable the promotion, development and progression of ladies football in Clare”.

He confirmed that the Player Development Programmes for 2021 will be completed in line with new LGFA guidelines. “This new process will bring challenges but it will also provide opportunities to provide progression and development of future county panels”, said the chairman before thanking the referees for their commitment during 2020 and appealing for more people to take up the role of refereeing.

“This year has created the need for us to connect in different ways, such as coming together tonight on Zoom for our annual meeting. As we go forward we will have to evolve and adapt our ideas with regard to fundraising, development of clubs and players and to increase participation at all levels of our game”, O’Brien added.

Remembering those who had passed away during the year under review he had a special mention for the late Michael McInerney from the Banner ladies club. Before concluding he paid tribute to all who had helped with the promotion of ladies football during the year under review.

Later in the meeting, O’Brien stunned delegates and the Executive when he announced he was not standing for Chairman for a second term.

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