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Fitzpatrick & Lydon resign as Chairman & Secretary as tensions sour in CDSL

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*Michael Lydon & Oliver Fitzpatrick. Photograph: Martin Connolly

Clare soccer has been rocked by the resignations of both its Chairman and Secretary on Wednesday evening.

Elected Chairperson in 2015, Oliver Fitzpatrick vacated the position shortly after 5pm on Wednesday evening. He informed clubs in the Clare District Soccer League (CDSL) of his departure in an email. Hours previously, Michael Lydon had announced his resignation as Secretary via email.

Fitzpatrick thanked clubs for their support during his time on the committee. “Club and personal interests should not be put ahead of the interests of the League or Government/FAI guidelines on Covid-19 when you are on the CDSL committee,” the departing Chairman stated in correspondence obtained by The Clare Echo.

He referenced Clare winning the Oscar Traynor on two occasions, the renaming of the County Grounds to Frank Healy Park, the installation of flood lights and dugouts, securing planning permission for a new stand and the raising of €14k to fund the project as particular highlights. Oliver also highlighted the start of a women’s league, the beginning of a CDSL website and social media channels, introduction of an awards night as achievements during his tenure. “Clare soccer has come a long way with some great work being done by a lot of our clubs in developing facilities and players. It’s a pity we have not brought home a Munster or FAI title yet but we are not far away and it will happen”.

Criticism of Vice Chairman Ronnie Pyne and Registrar Jason Ryan was voiced by the Inch Crusaders clubman. “I have covered Fixtures Secretary for the last two seasons as no one else would do this job. If anyone had come forward they were more than welcome to the position as I said on many occasions. Ronnie Pyne was nominated for this position two years back but withdrew his name on the night of the AGM. He then sends me an email to say committee not happy with me doing this job. Life is too short.

“It’s been a tough year for a lot of people and me personally as most people are aware. I thank everyone again for your kind words, calls and messages. I worked hard to ensure we got the 2019/20 season finished despite the efforts of certain individuals on committee to stop this. As preparations begin for the 2020/21 season now is the right time to leave it to a new committee to make the decisions here”.

Particular praise was extended to Michael Lydon, Donie Garrihy, Frank Gormley, Franke Burke, Alfonso D’Auria and Christy Ryan by Fitzpatrick.

Lydon stepped down as Secretary with immediate effect as he informed clubs it was likely an AGM would be held before the planned new season in October. “The enjoyment of soccer for me now is zero mostly due to off field going ons,” he outlined in correspondence to clubs.

“I would like to acknowledge the brilliant work done by Oliver Fitzpatrick who worked almost single handed in getting the season up and running after the lock down and getting all the leagues and cup competition’s finished safely despite the best efforts of a few people with hidden agendas who did everything possible to stop the season resuming. I have enjoyed my years in Clare soccer but now is the right time to call it a day. I would like to wish all the clubs the best of luck in the future in what are very challenging times,” he concluded.

Both officials advised that Ronnie Pyne would now be responsible for the handling of all queries relating to the CDSL. No date has been announced for the AGM.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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