*Cian Burke in action for Clare against Tyrone. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Clare GAA’s June meeting was held at Caherlohan on Tuesday night when there was a lively debate on a number of topics.

Among those criticisms of a report that suggested members of the county senior football were prevented from travelling to Clare’s away tie versus Tyrone and whether the GAA was becoming political in supporting a statement on the ongoing war in Gaza.

Cost of footballers trip to Tyrone “was paid for by County Board”

Referring to a recent item on social media which claimed that some members of the Clare senior football panel weren’t brought to Tyrone for the recent championship game because the board wouldn’t pay, Munster council delegate Bernard Keane who is the senior football team’s liaison officer, told the meeting “the football management requested that thirty players travel as per the charter.

“Thirty players travelled and their accomodation and meals were paid for by the board and everybody was satisfied. I think somebody was trying to put a different slant on things and that is unhelpful to Clare GAA in either football or hurling. If somebody wanted information I am sure they could have asked any officer of Clare GAA or, indeed, asked me and I would gladly have pointed out to them that thirty players travelled and thirty players were accommodated as per the charter”.

Chairman Kieran Keating commented, “You see things in social media that you know are wrong but there is no point in engaging with them because you are only putting fuel on fire. My own view is you are better off letting them pass”.

Newmarket-on-Fergus delegate, Pat Keogh said, “it’s not right”. He stated, “For Mr. Ó Muircheartaigh to put out something like that is totally disingenuous to what we are all doing, whether it is football or hurling”.

Keating replied, “He was informed that it was wrong and he didn’t take it down”.

Keogh responded, “I am aware of that as well. That makes it worse”.

Éire Óg delegate, Rory Hickey clarified, “Just for the record, Joe Ó Muircheartaigh is not a member of Éire Óg”.

The Clare Echo has confirmation from a member of the Clare football support committee that they were approached to provide payment for two extra rooms for additional members of the Clare football panel as Clare GAA had informed management that they would only cover the cost for 30 players.
It is understood that because of exam studies and work commitments the additional players did not travel until the day of the game and, hence, the additional accommodation was not required.
Journalist and proud Townie Joe Ó Muircheartaigh embraces Aaron Fitzgerald. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Financial matters:

Under matters arising from the minutes of the May meeting Clondegad delegate Seamus O’Reilly asked if a copy of the six month financial statement read out at that meeting would be sent to the clubs.

“It’s not normal to do that, we wouldn’t normally send a copy of an unaudited report to clubs”, Chairman Kieran Keating replied.

“Was there not an indication given that these details would be sent to the clubs,” asked O’Reilly. “I can’t see any difficulty in providing the information”, he added.

“If any club has any questions get your club secretary to send in the question”, stated Head of Operations Deirdre Murphy.

“I don’t recall getting unaudited financial reports in the past”, Keating said.

The Jack Daly Cup:

For the second successive meeting the question was raised as to whether or not the Jack Daly will be presented to the senior football championship winners this year.

Raising the issue Clondegad delegate Seamus O’Reilly who told the meeting that the cup was first presented in 1969 asked “if anyone has offered a replacement” to which chairman Kieran Keating replied “a couple have offered” and he went on to agree with the Clondegad delegate that a nephew of the late Jack Daly had made an offer.

Cooraclare’s P.J. McGuane said he “cannot understand why there is a necessity to replace” and he said he would “object vehemently” to any change. “I can’t see why the question of change to another cup arises at all”.

The Jack Daly. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Ruan’s Michael O’Regan noted that “it is a well-respected trophy honouring a man who gave great service. I have never heard of any suggesting changing the Sam Maguire or Liam McCarthy cups” before adding that he would be against any possible change from the Jack Daly cup.

“If a proposal to change comes before the board you will have an opportunity to object”, chairman Kieran Keating said before refusing to “vehemently say that there will or won’t be change”.

“That answer is only fanning the rumour mill”, stated Kildysart delegate John Meade.

“Why are we discussing this,” asked Newmarket-on-Fergus delegate Pat Keogh.

Éire Óg’s Rory Hickey said, “the question is who is going to be presented with the Jack Daly cup this year” leaving Cooraclare’s P.J. Mc Guane to say “it won’t be Cooraclare” (they are in the intermediate championship).

GAA/GPA statement on Gaza endorsed:

A call for Clare GAA to endorse a statement issued by the GAA at national level in relation to the ongoing humanitarian crises in Gaza was met with some resistance at this week’s meeting.

The proposal came from Sixmilebridge delegate P.J. Fitzpatrick who in asking for the meeting’s report read the GAA/GPA statement to the meeting.

The statement read, “the GAA and the GPA share the deep concern expressed by many of our members about the ongoing humanitarian crisis and the escalating violence in Gaza. We support the Irish Government and the calls of the international community for an immediate and sustained ceasefire which will allow aid to reach Gaza and for all hostages to be release”.

“You might say does that make any difference”, Fitzpatrick told the meeting “but like anybody that has suffered a personal crisis a kind word or a word of support goes a long way to ease that”.

Seconding the proposal, Central Council delegate Robert Frost said “at the last Central Council meeting it was decided to make to make a contribution. There wasn’t a figure mentioned but it was left to the finance committee to decide. I expect the GAA will be making a fairly sizeable contribution”, he said before replying to a query from Éire Óg delegate Rory Hickey that there were no dissenting voices to the Central council decision.

Seamus O’Reilly. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Clondegad’s Seamus O’Reilly said, “I didn’t hear anything like this when 2,000 Jews were massacred by Hamas. I think we are going down a very dangerous road. I have strong views on the GPA and I think we should concentrate a bit more on issues pertaining to the GAA and I know we are a worldwide organisation. I didn’t hear any condemnation of Hamas when they butchered 2,000 Jews. We should be very careful of the road the GPA like to go down and I know they are supported by the GAA. Have we lost the run of ourselves? I have the ultimate sympathy with regard to all the deaths”, according to O’Reilly who added that “I presume we haven’t forgotten about the H Blocks and the stance the GAA took being neutral in that”.

Head of Operations Deirdre Murphy commented, “the same amount of children as packed out Thurles last week have been killed. If there is a wider debate of politicising the GAA, I don’t know if this is the forum for it. The concerns that any individuals have are for written comment to be brought further and for us to send up the chain”.

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

Ruan’s Michael O’Regan said his “immediate reaction is that one of the first regulations of the GAA is “non-political and for the promotion of our games, our language, our culture. Individuals can support but associating the GAA with this and there are so many atrocities happening all over the world. I would concur with the Clondegad delegate. I am not anti this but it is going away from the ethos of the GAA as an organisation”.

Chairman Kieran Keating said “yes, the GAA is non-political and we shouldn’t’ get involved in politics. This is a matter of people giving in their thousands. Perhaps the original atrocity on October 7 should have been condemned and I am sure it was by individuals. Nobody can argue what has happened since then that many women and children have been killed. It’s the opinion of most of the people here is that we endorse the statement and I am happy with that”.

Sixmilebridge delegate P.J. Fitzpatrick said “the only point is it’s not political. It’s only calling for a ceasefire and to ensure there wouldn’t be more suffering and that the hostages will be released. At the end of the day in the North after all the bloodshed they had to sits down with one another work it out. That statement is only calling for a ceasefire”.

On a show of hands, the meeting endorsed the statement with some voting against.

Isolated player:

Permission was granted to Clondegad’s Brandon O’Connell to assist Ballyea this season.

Informing the meeting that the request had been submitted prior to the March 31 deadline, chairman Kieran Keating explained that the request could not be dealt with at the time as Brandon wasn’t a member of Clondegad as he was in Australia.

Brandon O’Connell clears his lines. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

A board meeting at the time gave permission to have the request dealt with when he returned to his home club.

Stressing that he wasn’t objecting to the request, coaching officer Neil O’Brien questioned the legality of granting the request which was unanimously allowed.

Junior B and C championships:

The draws for the junior B and C championships will be made at the July board meeting and any club what will not have paid the affiliation fee for same will not be included the chairman told the meeting

Facilities update:

The renovation of the GAA’s headquarters at Clareabbey “is continuing at pace”, Head of Operations Deirdre Murphy told this week’s board meeting.

Chairman Kieran Keating told the meeting that “there has been no announcement yet with regard to the Sports Capital funding. We have an application in and we are hoping to get €500,000 which we need to proceed with the development of the astro pitch”.

He appealed to all delegates to speak to all politicians seeking support in this area. Urging the clubs to seek the support of the politicians, board officer Paddy Smyth paid “tribute to the chairman and the HOO for the work they have done on this to date”.

Demographic committee:

The appointment of a demographic committee raised at a number of meetings earlier in the year, has almost been completed.

At this week’s meeting, the chairman put forward the names of six people to act on that committee with one more still to be appointed. Those appointed are Frances O’Sullivan (Cratloe), Keith McNamara (Clondegad), Andrew Monahan (Tubber) and all three were members of the outgoing clubs committee which no longer exists.

They are joined by David O’Shea (Kilrush), Sean O’Halloran (Bodyke) and Munster Council delegate Bernard Keane.

Informing the delegates that there is one more to be appointed the chairman said “we need to find one with the skillset required”.

Cooraclare’s P.J. McGuane who had stressed at a number of previous meetings that representatives from all sections of the county needed to be included said “I am not too disappointed that my volunteering to be on the committee was not accepted. The object was to make sure that the membership was representative of the county geographically and the inclusion of David O’Shea and Sean O’Halloran has seen to that”. He proposed the appointment of the committee.

Marketing committee:

A personnel change was agreed to the make-up of the board’s marketing committee. Chairman Kieran Keating informed the meeting that “because of pressure of work” Peter O’Connell (Shannon Gaels) has stepped down. He is being replaced by Margaret O’Brien who has been working with the Chamber of Commerce as CEO of Ennis Chamber.

Robert disappointed:

Informing this week’s meeting that there hadn’t been a Central Council meeting since Clare’s May board meeting, Robert Frost said he was “disappointed to read in the media that ticket prices for the All-Ireland final had been increased when we hadn’t discussed it”.

Referring to the football development committee he said “a lot of work has been done and there is still time to make submissions if any club wants to do so”.

Bernard Keane told the delegates that Munster Council had a meeting with the football development committee. “They are a very pro-active committee. Two clubs from Clare did make submissions”, he said.

He went on to remind delegates that applications for club development grants will be invited shortly and “if clubs in Clare don’t apply and have their details in order, clubs in other counties will”.

School’s fixture schedule:

Coaching officer Neil O’Brien informed the meeting that “the schools calendar for next year has been finalised and the under 17 hurling and football competitions will be played at the start of the year, beginning in September. They are being moved forward to avoid clashing with the county minor teams competitions. That means that the under 15 competitions in both hurling and football will be after Christmas”.

He went on to day that “Munster GAA has set up a committee to review the development squads system”.

Primary schools skills winners:

Neil O’Brien congratulated O’Callaghans Mills on winning the Munster primary schools competition

Ennistymon tournament:

Ennistymon hurling club was granted permission to run a junior hurling tournament in memory of the late John Hynes. “He was a driving force and a founding member of our club”, Kieran Harvey told the meeting. The tournament will involve Ennistymon, Clonbony, Kilkee/Bealaha and Inagh/Kilnamona

Naming rights:

Clondegad delegate Seamus O’Reilly enquired if Clare GAA had any plans to name areas of Cusack Park after former star players. “We have plenty of people we could name them after such as Jimmy Smyth, Tull Considine and many more”.

Ruan’s Michael O’Regan reminded all that “Jimmy Smyth was honoured in his native Ruan back in 2006”.

“You could mention twenty or more names of people that could be honoured including the late Brendan Vaughan who did wonderful work for Clare GAA. You could offend somebody, there are so many that could be remembered”, Robert Frost pointed out.

Junior whistlers:

Rory Hickey informed the delegates that “a junior whistlers programme is off the ground. The aim is to get these people refereeing blitzes and hopefully they will go on to become regular referees. There are a serious amount of games taking place in Clare and only about forty referees. Our aim is to get these juniors involved and maybe pay then expenses”.

Head of operations Deirdre Murphy said “we will need to agree about expenses before confirming”.

AOB again:

Having been the subject of a lively debate at a meeting earlier this season, the question of Any Other Business being on the agenda raised its head again this week.

A note at the end of the agenda for the meeting read “If clubs have any matters they wish to add to AOB please email in advance of the meeting and we will add to the agenda”.

Chairman Kieran Keating said if there is stuff you want discussed it would be useful to know beforehand so that we can have answers ready. I won’t stop you asking questions”.

“Removing AOB would take the entertainment out of meetings”, commented P.J. McGuane. “If you are running a meeting it is courtesy to get items on the agenda if you want it discussed”, according to Head of Operations Deirdre Murphy. “If there is something clubs want discussed it makes sense that it would come from clubs to have it on the agenda, This is not to try and gag anybody”.

“In most organisations if it’s not on the agenda it can’t be discussed”, according to Sixmilebridge delegate P.J. Fitzpatrick.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

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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