*Photograph: Natasha Barton
UP TO THREE CONTESTS are expected at the upcoming Clare GAA Convention.
Nominations closed for voting on Wednesday evening with prospective officers beginning the process of canvassing clubs
Hotel Woodstock is set to host the Convention on December 14th where delegates from across the county will gather to elect the County Executive for 2023 and debate numerous proposals from the floor.
Details of the nominated officers and motions are to be circulated to clubs following an officers meeting on Tuesday evening. Nominated personnel are also to be contacted later this week to ascertain if they are standing or not.
It will be the first Convention that Deirdre Murphy will address delegates since taking on the role of Head of Operations in October while it will also mark the first year in thirty two years that Pat Fitzgerald will not be present. The Sixmilebridge man stood down as secretary of Clare GAA in July, no nominations were sought for the role of secretary in forms issued to clubs and instead the workload is likely to be split between Murphy and the assistant secretary.
Sean O’Halloran (coaching & games officer) and Flan O’Reilly (Irish officer) have served the maximum term of five years in their respective roles and a successor will have to be appointed for each position.
The Clare Echo understands that more than one candidate is nominated for Central Council Delegate, Coaching & Games Officer and Assistant Treasurer meaning contests are on the cards unless nominated personnel withdraw in the next three weeks.
Two former Chairmen are both nominated for the vacancy of Central Council delegate. As first reported by The Clare Echo, highly respected officer Simon Moroney informed officers he would not be continuing in the role, the departure of the former Munster CEO serves as a blow given the period of transition underway within the Association in Clare.
Michael O’Neill who served as Chairman of Clare GAA for five years up until 2012 has confirmed to The Clare Echo that he has allowed his name to go forward to succeed Moroney. The Ballyea clubman first served as Chairman of his own club as a teenager, was Chair of Clare GAA when the county won its first U21 All-Ireland hurling decider in 2009 and was involved in the appointment of All-Ireland winning manager Davy Fitzgerald as Clare boss.
When Clare won the All-Ireland SHC in 1995 and 1997, Robert Frost was Chairman of Clare GAA. He has confirmed to The Clare Echo he is in the mix to become Central Council delegate. Currently the County Board delegate for O’Callaghans Mills, Frost was Chairman of Munster GAA from 2013 to 2016 and was a candidate for the GAA Presidency in 2017. He lost out against Moroney to become Central Council delegate in 2019. Earlier this year, he received an eight week suspension by the GAA over claims of interference with the appeal of county hurler Ian Galvin.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that Bodyke’s O’Halloran is also nominated for the Central Council delegate vacancy. A selector on the U21 All-Ireland winning side of 2009, Sean is an ex Bord na nÓg Iomáint Chairman and has been involved with the GAA for all his life. He is not expected to allow his name forward in this vote.
At the June meeting of the County Board, Sean Chambers was elected Asst Treasurer following the resignation of Tony Brohan. Cooraclare’s Chambers faces a battle to remain in the role as The Clare Echo understands that Caroline O’Connor, the wife of Clare great Jamesie is reported to have received a nomination, she is currently the Treasurer of Club Clare whose committee members also include Deirdre Murphy.
Current Bord na nÓg Iomáint Chairman, Neil O’Brien is nominated for the vacancy of Coaching and Games officer. The O’Callaghans Mills clubman is an active referee in the hurling ranks of the county and was previously nominated for Vice Chairman but opted not to stand before a vote took place. The former publican would exit his Bord na nÓg role should he get the new position.
A fellow referee is also nominated against O’Brien. Outgoing Irish Officer, Flan O’Reilly has received a nomination for the Coaching and Games post. Having joined the County Executive five years ago, his term will conclude and it remains to be seen if the Cratloe clubman will stand if there is a contest with the East Clare man.
With O’Reilly departing the Irish Officer’s post, it paves the way for Clare FM analyst Joe Garry to join the Executive. The popular Cooraclare man is a primary school teacher at Scoil Chríost Rí in Cloughleigh and has managed Clare’s footballers at minor and U21 level.
Chairman Kieran Keating who defeated the then incumbent Jack Chaplin of Cratloe (105-74) at last year’s Convention is to be returned unopposed in the hotseat and begin a second year at the helm.
Michael O’Connor who was nominated for the Chair but withdrew in the race prior to Chaplin’s election is the only nominee for Vice Chairman. The Crusheen man formerly served as PRO before becoming Vice Chair last year.
Deirdre Chaplin who was elected at the same June meeting as Chambers is unopposed for Assistant Secretary.
Revenue official Rebecca Sexton who become the county’s first female Treasurer is set for a second year in the role as is PRO Anne Hayes of Lissycasey.
Munster Council delegates John Fawl and Bernard Keane are also without opposition to be returned. The role of Children’s Officer filled by Kathy Hogan of Wolfe Tones and planning and training officer occupied by Éire Óg’s Paddy Smyth are appointed roles.
Two of the motions tabled by Ballyvaughan are likely to generate debate. The North Clare club want players from junior clubs to be allowed to assist neighbouring senior clubs in the top tier.
They are also asking that in the event the number of regradings allowed per club be increased that two rounds in the championship they are regraded from be played prior to the eligibility of the individual in the new grade.
It comes as the clubs committee established by the Chairman is set to recommend that the amount of regradings be increased from five to seven each year. Members of this committee include Fiona Whelan (Ballyea), Keith McNamara (Clondegad), Andrew Monahan (Tubber) and Tom Crotty (Scariff).
Sixmilebridge are proposing that the minor grade revert to U18 for next year and that players of the age be eligible to play adult level. Currently minor is at U17 and these players are not allowed to play adult hurling or football.
Changes to the format of the Clare IHC are also to be part of the agenda. Bodyke are asking that a premier intermediate hurling championship and an intermediate hurling championship be created and suggest that the team who wins the intermediate hurling championship be given an opportunity to compete in the premier intermediate hurling championship. Newmarket-on-Fergus are to put forward that the Clare IHC be divided as a premier intermediate and intermediate hurling championship from 2024.