*Corofin/Ruan’s Diarmuid Cahill in action. The reigning champions and Scariff/Ogonnelloe are favourites for the U21A hurling title. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Newly appointed Clare GAA Chief Operating Officer, Deirdre Murphy addressed club delegates for the first time while formats for the U21 championships, a potential increase in the amount of regradings per club discussed along with the Chairman issuing an apology at the October meeting of the County Board.
Under 21 championships
The draw for the under 21 hurling and football championships will be made at a meeting of the CCC on Monday evening next and before that clubs have been asked to confirm their preference regarding the format to the board.
At the October county board meeting this week, chairman Kieran Keating told the delegates that it will be possible to complete a competition that will provide clubs with a second game before Christmas.
He suggested the hurling first round games for October 30/31, second round on November 12/13, quarter finals on November 26/27, semi-finals on December 10/11 and the finals on December 17/18. He suggested that clubs who may have provincial club games on those weekends would have to play the under 21 fixture in mid week in order to meet the suggested schedule.
Proposed dates for the football are November 5/6 for round 1, November 19/20 for round two, December 3/4 for quarter finals, December 10/11 for semi-finals and December 17/18 for the finals.
While club delegates stayed quite on preferred formats at Tuesday’s meeting, it is understood that clubs will be keen to maintain the knockout format in order to complete the championships swiftly and to quench fears of player burnout.
There will be A, B and C grades in hurling and A and B in football. There weren’t enough entries for a C grade in football.
In hurling six clubs have entered teams for A and C competitions and the chairman suggested that the six should be grouped together in a separate competition at C level.
The amalgamation of the Parteen and Meelick clubs was sanctioned by the meeting. Both clubs had confirmation before the meeting of their special general meetings last week when members voted in favour of the amalgamation.
In Parteen it was 128 votes for and 18 against while in Meelick it was 70 for and one against. Parteen’s Kieran O’Halloran thanked Simon Moroney for his assistance.
Responding to criticism from both St. Joseph’s Doora/Barefield and Corofin clubs over the delay in the start up time for their intermediate hurling semi-final on Sunday, board chairman Kieran Keating said “it was my mistake for not dealing with it and we will try and learn from it”.
Doora/Barefield delegate Anthony O’Halloran expressed his club’s disappointment with the delay due to the late arrival of the officials while a letter from Corofin chairman Brian Gillespie was read to the meeting expressing their disappointment with what happened after first extending congratulations to the winners St. Josephs.
“We were notified that there would be a fifteen minute delay and that was fine. The teams were three quarters through their warm up routine when informed of another fifteen minute delay. Both clubs tried their best to keep players warm. There is no blame to the referee. He made his way to Clarecastle in a timely manner. Supporters were left standing in the rain and they were well wet when the game started. I sincerely hope that it doesn’t happen again,” O’Halloran said.
“It should never have happened, it was unfair on both clubs. It was unforeseen from our point of view as we didn’t realise that the referee for that game was the fourth official at the senior game in the park”, the Chairman said.
Head of operations welcomed
Clare’s new head of operations, Deirdre Murphy was introduced to the delegates at Tuesday meeting in Caherlohan.
“Deirdre will be joining us on Monday week after she finishes up in UL this week”, Chairman Kieran Keating told the meeting.
Addressing the meeting she first paid tribute to her predecessor Pat Fitzgerald. “It is important to recognise the work he did and the success achieved during his time involved”, she said when referring to the winning of All-Ireland senior, under 21 and minor titles and the Munster senior football title.
Looking to the future she referred to the importance of having things in place for players, coaches, administrators, to have facilities and money. “If we fall down in any of these areas we won’t be successful” the Clooney/Quin clubwoman said before adding that she is looking forward “to engaging and working with ye”.
Clooney-Quin delegate John Skehan welcomed Deirdre and described her as “most inspirational as a player and an administrator in the club. She is a perfectionist, level headed and fair and she always gives 100%”.
Welcoming her to the position, Michael Maher recalled his association with her over twenty years with Clare camogie.
Addressing this week’s board meeting, the board’s planning and training officer Paddy Smith said that reports from a number of committees will not be as advanced by Christmas as he had said back in June. “It might take longer. People are working on the plan. The planning and training group are working, the audit committee is working extremely hard as are the coaching and games committee. The youth committee has had two meetings and they met with the post primary schools last week. The planning and training group is working and we hope to meet the communications committee and the CCC shortly”, he said
St. Flannans congratulated
Board chairman Kieran Keating extended congratulations to St. Flannan’s College on winning the Munster colleges under 15 A football title on Tuesday. In the final they defeated St. Francis college, Rochestown. He complimented all the schools on their work for the GAA.
Board chairman Kieran Keating told the delegates at Tuesday’s meeting that “the club’s committee have been looking at the bye-laws which allows for re-grading of a maximum of five players and they feel this should be increased to seven”.
“There are pros and cons for this”, he told the meeting when asking the delegates to bring this to the attention of their clubs.
Cooraclare delegate P.J. McGuane asked the October meeting “where are we with financial and corporate governance. Are all the funds under the control of the treasurer? This is extremely important. Any funds collected in the name of the GAA should be under the control of the treasurer”, he said.
Replying the chairman said he is “in discussion with both Club Clare and the football support committees. Their finances must be included in our accounts. Deirdre (Murphy) has been involved with Club Clare and that should assist us”.
Thanks from Tulla
Tulla GAA has been “very fortunate to host a lot of good games recently” Brian Torpey told the October board meeting when thanking “the teams that played there for the respect shown to our facilities”.
He went on to ask that a list of the motions passed at conventions in the last ten years be listed for the next county board meeting. Ruan’s John O’Sullivan said “they are all in the convention booklets”.
Reports on the year’s activities for the senior county team managers, Brian Lohan and Colm Collins will be available at the next board meeting”, the Clare chairman told this week’s meeting before presenting a summary of the minor hurling manager’s (Brian O’Connell) report in which he listed the Munster final, the All-Ireland semi-final and beating Cork in Pairc Ui Rinn as so me of the highlights.
He told the meeting that Cyril Lyons and Keith Hogan from the outgoing management will not be continuing next year. The chairman added that a summary of the report will be included with the minutes which will be sent to the clubs.
Debate on age grades
Chairman Kieran Keating asked clubs to discuss the proposals on the change of age grades (under 17 or under 18). “This needs to be debated at club level. If minor is changed from under 17 to under 18 it is being suggested that under 18’s will not be allowed to play at adult level. Such a change would be big for the smaller clubs”, he said.
“The question is how will it affect the smaller clubs”, commented Cooraclare’s P.J. McGuane. “In my time if you were good enough you played at adult level regardless of your age. A good 17 year old should be allowed to play adult for his club. No one asked me my age when I started”.
“There is no easy solution to this”, said Bodyke’s Sean O’Halloran who is the county’s coaching officer.
Robert Frost of O’Callaghans Mills suggested “the smaller clubs should be allowed to get permission to play under 18’s. A lot won’t survive and some compromise must be found for the smaller club”.
“These proposals are Dublin based where clubs have thousands of players. They will play soccer or rugby if not allowed to play adult GAA. It will bury clubs that are trying to hold on in every county”, commented Meelick’s Padraig O’Brien.
Tulla’s Brian Torpey wants a special meeting of clubs to debate competition structures in hurling. “There have been a lot of one sided games and we should look at the structures to see if we can improve. Clubs should talk to each other and the board should hold a meeting to discuss the structures for adult hurling. Éire Óg and Tulla were relegated from Division 1B of the hurling league this year and Éire Óg are now in the senior final and Tulla in the intermediate final”.
“They should take a leaf out of the football book where senior champion was reduced to twelve and this made for a very competitive intermediate championship”, Cooraclare’s P.J. McGuane suggested.
Ruan’s John O’Sullivan suggested that the make up of the leagues should be examined as there were a lot of walkovers this year.
“The structures meeting should be held in November”, said chairman Kieran Keating
In the absence of treasurer Rebecca Sexton due to flu, chairman Kieran Keating gave some financial details to Tuesday’s meeting. “The report up to the end of June looks quite healthy with €670,000 but that includes the money made from the Win A House draw which brought in €545,000 with €136,000 expenses. He pointed out that a lot of bills have to be paid such as player expenses. “Croke Park paid a lot of those but ultimately the bill comes back to the county.
Asking that admission fees to games be examined, Cooraclare’s P.J. McGuane told the meeting that “a young 15 year old cycled to last Sunday’s game in Cooraclare. He didn’t have any money and wasn’t allowed in. He rang his mother who arrived with the €5 entrance fee and she lacerated the gate checker. Some of the people at the gates are too young to make these decisions”.
Vote of sympathy
Central Council delegate Simon Moroney proposed a vote of sympathy to the Heaslip family on the death of Jack Heaslip earlier on Tuesday. A great supporter of the Eire Og club, Jack, a Kilkenny native, had served as a Clare hurling selector in the past