By Kieran Murphy
O’HANRAHAN’S GFC brought their centenary celebrations to an end when they acted as host club of this year’s Carlow GAA annual convention in the Seven Oaks Hotel on Friday night.
Club secretary Peadar Bermingham opened the convention by addressing the assembled delegates.
“We looked for the convention a few years ago to coincide with our centenary and it is a great honour and privilege to be here tonight,” he said.
The long-serving O’Hanrahan’s officer recalled working under former county secretaries Jim O’Brien, Luke Hickey and Tommy O’Neill while he referred to the help O’Hanrahan’s had received from previous county board officials and officers when the club was developing its pitch, clubhouse and floodlights.
He paid tribute to the people who had come up with the Carlow Rising phenomenon.
“It is a great slogan,” he said, noting that the Carlow hurlers had played at the highest level this year in the Leinster senior hurling championship.
He suggested the clubs themselves were the “biggest critics” of Carlow GAA and said that hurling and football in Carlow was as good as in any other county.
Commenting on Carlow’s influence on the association at the highest levels, he noted that the current Director General of the GAA is a Carlow man, Tom Ryan, and he wished Clonmore’s Jim Bolger well in his bid to become the next president of the association.
Statement of Accounts
County committee treasurer Cormac O’Toole noted there had been an improvement in the final figures from last year where the deficit of income and expenditure was €16,778 in comparison to 2018 when the deficit was €74,728.
“We are going in the right direction,” he said.
“Fundraising is a big challenge,” he continued, while he paid tribute to the team of stewards under the direction of John Dunphy.
“They are a small bunch of very dedicated people,” he noted.
He also praised Breda McDermott who works in the office at Netwatch Cullen Park.
“She is the cog which keeps the whole engine going,” the treasurer said.
David O’Brien from Bagenalstown Gaels informed the top table that there was provision in the initial plans for the Training Centre in Fenagh for sites which could be sold for housing in order to raise money to fund further development.
Former county board chairman Pat Deering agreed this was the case. He confirmed there were provisions for four sites but planning permission would have to be obtained.
“It is something which should be looked at,” stated O’Brien.
Club levy €10,800 €10,800
Annual draw €56,795 €68,651
Club Carlow €17,500 €25,000
Other fundraising €12,555 €12,147
Total €97,650 €116,598
Children’s officer George Darcy informed delegates that every club in the country had received an e-mail from Tusla and Croke Park warning them they would be visiting clubs at random to check their safety statements are drawn up and that risk assessments had been carried out. He also said the safety statement should be publicly displayed.
He revealed recent records indicate 14 clubs in Carlow have not responded to the e-mail.
He warned delegates that if they have not complied with the safety requirements a club could be stood down until members of the safe-guarding committees visits the club.
“Put a little time into this,” advised Darcy, who went on to pay tribute to the mentors and coaches who dedicate so much of their efforts to training and coaching underage players.
“We are doing a lot of things correctly but it would be worth doing these things well to comply with the laws of the land.”
Leinster council representative Michael Whelan was invited to speak on a motion which could see the Leinster senior hurling championship expanded to six teams in 2021.
He pointed out Carlow had performed well in the Leinster championship in 2019 but were relegated to the Joe McDonagh Cup after only one season in the top-flight.
“We felt we should have been given another chance,” said Michael.
“All counties would play for their position next year for the 2021 season,” he said.
It was agreed this would be put forward to Leinster GAA for further debate.
Further motions and recommendations are to be discussed at a competitions meeting on 16 January.
These include a St Mullins proposal to change the senior hurling championship back to two semi-finals while Éire Óg tabled a motion that intermediate players should be allowed play in the senior championship and still be eligible for intermediate as long as they don’t play the senior semi-final.
Development officer Brian O’Neill spoke about the Carlow GAA House Draw which is due to take place at the end of the month.
He pointed out that one of the reasons for introducing the draw was to improve changing room facilities at the Training Centre.
He said the response from some clubs to the draw had been disappointing.
“We were assured we would get support across the county but it didn’t happen,” he said. “The clubs need to support the GAA.”
He was optimistic sufficient tickets would be sold by New Year’s Eve when the draw will take place.
“Sales are nearly there. We could do with some more,” O’Neill said. “I urge clubs to sell and promote the draw.”