THE first virtual AGM/convention of the Carbery GAA Board was held on Tuesday, December 1st, and the hottest topic of debate was the new county board draw, Rebels’ Bounty, which all clubs are obliged to join.
A number of delegates, especially from the smaller clubs in the division, spoke on the matter. All speakers, bar one, were strongly against the way in which the draw was being introduced, the obligation on clubs to meet a minimum target of tickets sold, and the intransigence of the county board in insisting on pushing ahead with the draw at a time when many clubs were in financial difficulties and were unable to fundraise because of Covid-19 regulations.
The Cork County Board announced last week that tickets for the draw were going on sale from Friday, December 4th.
Liam Evans of St James described how his club had to do special fundraising at the beginning of the year just to pay their own loans from the bank and that the new added burden of trying to sell Rebels’ Bounty tickets would shove the club over the edge financially. They just could not do it.
Seamus Coakley of Diarmuid Ó Mathúna said there were positive and negative aspects to the new draw but that the negative aspects seemed to be outweighing the positive, especially the obligatory nature of the draw. While most junior clubs might be in a position to sell 35 tickets, very few are capable of reaching the minimum target of 55.
Frank O’Donnell of Randal Óg agreed, stating that his club might reach 35 but where would they then get the money to make up the shortfall as the county board had intended taking the rest out of club funds, which just weren’t there.
Mícheál Dullea of St Oliver Plunkett’s pointed out that there were four junior clubs in the Enniskeane parish and between them they would have to sell 220 tickets, all aiming at the same small catchment of people. They had been unable to run their own club lotto this year, had no local pub or shop to sell tickets in and were struggling to keep their heads above water financially.
A number of delegates described the new draw as a ‘levy’ on the clubs of the county and that only the big clubs were in a position to make a profit from it. Under the old county board draw, clubs received a percentage of all tickets sold, but that was not the case under the new draw. Eddie Moloney of Dohenys said his club stood to lose €3,000 between the old draw and the new draw and they viewed the draw as a direct levy on the clubs.
Aidan O’Rourke of Newcestown described the anomaly in the way the draw was set up. He stated that his club was a double senior club and was expected to sell 100 tickets but they were drawing from a small supporter base whereas big senior clubs in the city with large populations to draw on had the same target. He pointed out that junior clubs with bigger populations than Newcestown only had to meet a target of 55 tickets. The whole structure of the draw should have been thought out better, he said. A one-fit for all clubs just will not work, O’Rourke added.
Clubs were also highly critical of the timing of the new draw as club canvassers were unable to go from door to door selling the tickets because of Covid-19 regulations. It was also pointed out that the county board had promised help to any club experiencing difficulty in reaching its target but some delegates pointed out that they had received no communication from the board six weeks after making their position known to the board. While clubs recognised that the county board was in financial trouble and needed help, they questioned this mandatory route of raising finance and the way it was all structured and introduced.
The sole voice supporting the new draw was that of Clonakilty GAA Club Chairman Ger McCarthy who pointed out that because of dedicated sellers of the old draw in his club, they will stand to make extra profit from the new draw by retaining the same membership. He also pointed out that it had just been announced that the country was awash with money in savings accounts and selling the tickets should not be such a huge problem.
Unfortunately, there was no representative from the county board present at the AGM, to answers the questions and worries of the delegates. Clubs which are experiencing difficulties with the new draw were asked to email their situation to the divisional secretary immediately and the Carbery executive will then contact the county board to discuss those difficulties.
- The virtual Carbery AGM was hosted by PRO/IT officer Martina Burns, and presided over by chairperson Tom Lyons. Present were all the officers of the board as well as a delegate from each club plus board guests.