*Photograph: John Mangan
With activity on the domestic playing fields drawing to a close, attention is switching to boardroom activities and, more specifically to the upcoming Clare GAA convention.
A number of contests for positions on the executive have been confirmed after the close of nominations at the weekend with the focus very much on the posts of chairman, vice chairman, treasurer and assistant treasurer.
Elected to the position of chairman for the first time last year, Cratloe’s Jack Chaplin has confirmed that he is seeking re-election to the post.
He will be opposed by the current vice chairman Kieran Keating who told The Clare Echo this week that he believes “there is an appetite for change in how we do things and I have the skillset to manage and help deliver that. My focus and objective is delivering on the strategic plan. I am looking for the position for 2022 and the scorecard on how I perform will be determined by how much we deliver on the strategic plan recommendations”.
Three people have been nominated for the position of vice chairman and they include current P.R.O. Michael O’Connor who informed fellow officers and clubs by text this week that he is a candidate for the post. “I could stay on for my final year as P.R.O. as I’m uncontested but I feel it’s time to step up a grade,” the Crusheen man stated.
Current Éire Óg secretary Paddy Smyth is also nominated for the position and he confirmed to The Clare Echo that he will be a candidate. “I have seven years done as secretary of Éire Óg and we brought in a rule a few years ago that five years is the limit one can serve in the position. I have four years done since that rule was introduced. Our chairman (Jim Cooney) will be stepping down next year when he completes five years and in order not to be filling too many seats at the top table in the one year, I am stepping down from my role this year”.
The Ennis man went on to say that his “reason for going for the county vice chair post is to ensure that the strategic plan recommendations are implemented. I was fortunate to see Clare win 3 All-Ireland hurling titles, under 21 All-Irelands and a Munster senior football title and I want to ensure that the youth of today will be able to have a similar opportunity. We have to move on. We have to ensure that we can replicate that and the strategic plan is the roadmap. I am deeply respectful of all in the present board, all are volunteers who have given of their time freely and I mean that sincerely. They brought this along the road and its time to move on. We need to get to where Cork are with the facilities they have now. To keep people interested we have to be able to give them the best. We owe it to the next generation”, he said.
O’Callaghans Mills clubman and current Coiste na nÓg hurling chairman Neil O’Brien is also nominated for this position. He contested the position last year when he lost out to Kieran Keating.Thanking the clubs for their support he said he is presently considering whether or not to seek election this year. “After two seasons in which our fixtures have been greatly disrupted because of Covid, we have done a lot of work in drawing up a schedule of games for 2022 bearing in mind the changes in the age groups which have been introduced”.
Outgoing treasurer Michael Gallagher (Doonbeg) is set to be opposed by Rebecca Sexton from Kilmurry Ibrickane where she is the club treasurer, a position she has held for the past three years. Meanwhile former Bord na nÓg football secretary, Niomh Madigan from the Kilrush club which she has served in a variety of positions, is seeking election as assistant treasurer, a position which is currently held by Eire Óg clubman Tony Brohan. Both the treasurer and assistant treasurer have confirmed that they are seeking re-election.
The remaining officers will, it is understood, be returned unopposed. Nominations closed last Friday night and the convention is set to take place on Tuesday December 14th.