*Clare GAA’s Head of Operations, Deirdre Murphy. Photograph: Natasha Barton

ISOLATED PLAYERS, the potential return of admission fees for adult league games from 2024 and Clondegad’s placing in Division 5 of the football league were among the issues to raise debate at the March meeting of Clare GAA.

Held at Hotel Woodstock on Tuesday night, strong indication was given by the Head of Operations of Clare GAA that the Association will press ahead with charging spectators to attend club league games next year.

Clondegad not happy:

Clondegad delegate Seamus O’Reilly questioned why his club junior team were “relegated to division 5 this year when we sealed our place in division 4 last season. We tied with Éire Óg and Miltown and after a three way play off Éire Óg and Clondegad survived. Our placing in division 5 for this year is illegal. We were on the same points as Éire Óg and when we met in the league we drew so scoring difference could not be applied”.

Responding Clare GAA’s head of operations, Deirdre Murphy explained that a new division was added because of the addition of a number of new teams but O’Reilly refused to accept this as a reason for the change.

Assistant secretary Deirdre Chaplin read, in full, the board’s response which was sent to the clubs pointing out that the make up of the league groups was sent to all clubs on February 9 inviting comments.

There was no issue raised by Clondegad. The groupings were proposed, seconded and ratified at the February meeting without objection and the letter noted that the Clondegad delegate was present at that meeting. The CCC then went ahead and made the fixtures which were sent to the clubs who had three days to object and Clondegad didn’t raise any objection.

O’Reilly didn’t contradict any of the details but continued to argue that they should not have been relegated. “Why were Éire Óg treated differently and they finished on the same points as us,” he repeated.

Isolated players:

The isolated player issue has long been a big talking point in Clare GAA and it raised its head again at the March board meeting.

Raising the topic, Declan Rynne from Clonbony told the meeting that his club currently has seventeen under 7’s but only nine under 9’s and he pointed out that seven under 9’s from the Kilmurry Ibrickane and Miltown Malbay parishes has been given permission to assist clubs nearby.

“They would make a huge difference to our club”, he said before adding that he had been speaking with a member of the Kilkee/Bealaha club who told him that players from five of their neighbouring clubs were assisting Ballyea. “Why can’t we have our own team. If they all came to us, Clonbony would have a strong under 9 squad this year. What is the rule”, he asked before adding “I am talking about new applications here”.

Coiste na nÓg hurling secretary Pat Gavin said, “we were told that the clubs committee were going to look at this. Isolated players are going all over the place and I said this last year,” he said.

Head of Operations Deirdre Murphy told the meeting that the recent congress ruled that a club’s first club will be that which they play at under 12 level and she agreed that it is an issue that needs to be discussed.

Chairman Kieran Keating agreed, noting that there are two clubs (Clonbony and Kilkee/Bealaha) providing hurling for the players. “We are commonly known as the county with isolated players going to too many places. We must take a look at the new applications in particular”.

Kilmaley’s Niall Romer asked “is hurling being pushed in Kilmurry and Miltown? It isn’t and that’s the truth of it. Why isn’t there a hurling academy in West Clare and a football academy in East Clare,” he stated.

“I am not picking on any club here but the fact is we have just nine under 9 players and there are players from the area going to other clubs”, the Clonbony delegate said.

Concluding the debate Deirdre Murphy said “it’s incumbent on us to look into this. It’s time we grasped the nettle”.

Admission charges to league games:

Under ‘AOB’ Clare GAA’s Head of Operations Deirdre Murphy told the meeting she was surprised to learn that “gates are not taken up at league games in Clare and we are one of only a few counties that don’t charge. We have to live and that is the reality. There won’t be a change this year but I will be doing a little research into what other counties do. There will be no change this year but it is unlikely that we can sustain that”, she told the meeting before asking clubs to revert back with their views.

Jamesie joins coaching committee:

Two-time All-Ireland winner Jamesie O’Connor, a member of the teaching staff at St. Flannan’s College has been added to the county’s coaching and games committee the coaching officer Neil O’Brien told the meeting.

CRAC committee:

The Clare referees committee for 2023 will be chaired by the county referees administrator Seanie McMahon and it includes Ger Hoey, Rory Hickey, Damian Fox, Ger Lyons and Flan O’Reilly.

Transfers:

Six inter club transfers were approved at Tuesday’s meeting as follows; Aidan Lynch from Tulla to Ogonnelloe; Sean McMahon from St Joseph’s Miltown to Moy; Cathal O’Halloran from Corofin to Kilfenora; Colin Brigdale from Kilmurry Ibrickane to Clarecastle; Martin Crowe from Ennistymon to Moy and Bruce Pigott from St. Joseph’s Doora/Barefield to Éire Óg.

Colin Brigdale executes a pass. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Scor na nÓg:

Twenty clubs will compete in the Clare Scor na nÓg finals on this Saturday night at Cois na h-Abhna. There will be contests in seven of the eight competitions, Irish officer Joe Garry told this week’s meeting.

He added that Scor na bPaisti will take place after Easter before informing delegates that two All-Ireland tickets will be raffled amongst the participating clubs at the April meeting.

Coiste na nÓg chairman “had no involvement”:

The chairman of Coiste na nÓg football, PJ McGuane told the meeting that he “had no hand act or part” in the decision making with regard to a transfer request involving a player from his own club to a neighbouring club.

Noting that for a transfer to be legal a player had to be “born in or living in the parish to which they wish to transfer and neither of the conditions were met in this case. You cannot decide to up ship and jump if you get disgruntled. Precedent has a habit of coming back to bite you. To set a precedent is dangerous”.

Naming of Munster football trophy:

Three names are in contention to have the Munster senior football trophy named after them. They are Michael Hogan, Paidi O’Se and Clare’s Noel Walsh.

“Munster Council is looking for a consensus and a committee has been appointed to deal with this. We have made our pitch for Noel Walsh”, Clare delegate to the Munster Council, Bernard Keane told the meeting

Demographic committee:

The first meeting of the Munster Council demographic committee will take place next Monday and Bernard Keane asked delegates at this week’s Clare board meeting to forward their views to him “on this very important issue” before that meeting.

“The situation is getting worse. Last year 61% resided in urban areas with 39% in rural areas and those figures have changed a lot since”, he said when asking clubs to outline “how we can help”.

Congratulations:

Irish officer Joe Garry congratulated St. Michael’s College Kilmihil on winning the Munster E football title last week.

He went on to extend best wishes to St. Joseph’s Spanish Point in the All-Ireland final in Tuam on this Saturday and to the Clare under 20, footballers who play the O’Connor cup final in Miltown on Saturday evening.

Board chairman Kieran Keating congratulated Clare senior hurler Paul Flannagan from Ballyea on his appointment as “the new GAA Irish ambassador”.

Reidy deserved more:

The late John Reidy “deserved more than one line in the minutes of the February meeting”, Coiste na nÓg football chairman P.J. McGuane told the meeting. “He served the county well in a variety of positions over many years”, the Cooraclare man said.

Head of Operations Deirdre Murphy invited McGuane to pen a piece on the Miltown Malbay man which she offered to have written into the minutes.

Sympathy:

Inviting votes of sympathy at the start of the March board meeting, chairman Kieran Keating told delegates that earlier that day his aunt, Sr. Cecilia had lost her life following a traffic accident. He went on to ask the head of Operations, Deirdre Murphy to chair the meeting.

Clondegad’s Seamus O’Reilly proposed a vote of sympathy to the relatives of the late Tony Normoyle, a member of the club’s junior championship winning team from 1969.

P. J. McGuane proposed sympathy to the board’s assistant treasurer Sean Chambers on the death of his aunt, Mrs. Ann Meere.
Head of Operations Deirdre Murphy proposed sympathy to the relatives of the late Flan McNamara, Sxmilebridge.

Regrading:

Kilmaley’s Niall Romer questioned why Kilmaley club member Stephen McNamara’s application to be regraded from junior A to junior B wasn’t successful.

Head of Operations Deirdre Murphy replied that “this is not an issue for discussion at a county board meeting” before adding that she had spoken with Stephen earlier that day and “he is quite happy to continue playing at junior A level”.

Championship draws:

Replying to Sixmilebridge delegate Pat Keane, Head of Operations Deirdre Murphy said that championship draws will cbe made at the May board meeting

Keane asked what the format for the intermediate championship will be and Colm Browne chairman of the masters fixtures committee replied that the remaining three semi-finalists from last season are to be seeded

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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