Fines and late finishing of leagues provide talking points in Carbery

December 10th, 2018 9:00 AM

By Southern Star Team

At the South West GAA Convention in Ballinacarriga were, from left, Vincent Dullea (outgoing cultural officer), Don Desmond (development officer), Tom Lyons (vice-chairman), Joe Crowley (outgoing chairman), Donal McCarthy (secretary), Pat O'Flynn (treasurer) and Martina Burns (PRO).

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Treasurer's report shows that the board made a healthy profit in 2018

Treasurer’s report shows that the board made a healthy profit in 2018


ALTHOUGH the main topics of conversation at the South West GAA convention in Ballinacarriga were fines and late finishes, it was obvious from the reports from the various officers and from comments by various delegates that the GAA in the division is in a healthy state and looking forward to the future. 

The new incoming CEO of the Cork County Board, Kevin O’Donovan, in his wide-ranging address to convention, was loud in his praise of Carbery for proposing a new, innovative format for their championships in 2021, which would be closely studied by county board, and for their great efforts on the coaching front.

The delegates, who were welcomed to Ballinacarriga by chairman of the local Randal Óg club, Frank O’Donnell, were more anxious, however, to discuss the problems facing the clubs during the past season. Topping the list were the late finishing of some of the championships and especially, the leagues, as outlined in the comprehensive report by secretary Donal McCarthy, and the fines being imposed on clubs for the non-playing of games.

Dan Hurley of St Colum’s, whose club reached both Division 1 league finals, football and hurling, which were not finished until November, was critical of the fact that his club had been ready to play the finals much earlier but that they were held up by clubs who had progressed in the county championships. He suggested that those successful clubs should opt out of the league play-offs if they are completely taken up with championship fixtures.

However, Christy Daly, secretary of Kilbree, who had won both the hurling championship and league, said they had finished all their league games by the end of July and had offered to play the final in early August but it wasn’t done. Dan Hourihane, chairman of Kilmacabea, who won the football league, said he was completely against asking teams to pull out and forfeit their places in finals. The players had earned the right to play in the final.

Tom Lyons, organiser of the hurling leagues, agreed that it was totally unfair to be playing important finals in late November, with little interest all round, belittling those competitions. He said the CCC was considering fixing the league finals for the last fortnight in June in 2019. Dual clubs would have 14 league games to play in 22 weeks, from the start of February to the end of June but that was what players wanted, to be playing games.

Ger McCarthy, Clonakilty chairman, doubted very much if clubs could manage 14 games in 22 weeks because of bad weather and a clash with the early rounds of various championships.

Declan Cullinane of Argideen Rangers, was very critical of the fines being imposed by the board, especially with the board in such a healthy financial position. Clubs were doing their very best to get games played and it was the club officials who had to go out and collect the money to pay fines, the very people who tried their best to get the games played. Liam Evans of S. James, agreed that fines were totally unfair on small clubs who were showing a deficit in their accounts each year. Ger McCarthy pointed out that clubs were struggling to field for league games during the summer because of inter-county involvement and players in the USA.

Dissatisfaction was expressed about the gap between the U21 games in Carbery and the county board fixtures afterwards. Sean Whelton of Clonakilty stated that his club had been forced to play Newcestown in midweek in the South West U21 hurling final, with the winners, Newcestown, having to play in the county championship three days later. Yet, that championship is still not finished by the county board, three months later. O’Donovan Rossa won the South West U21B football final on April 6th and didn’t get to play in the county championship until October 27th.

Paul Murray of Dohenys was unhappy with the treatment of club’s second teams, who were often asked to play championship games the day after their first teams had played. It was unfair on the selectors who couldn’t pick their teams until they saw what players were used by the first team and on the players who might be dispirited if their first team had been beaten the previous day. He proposed that a week should be allowed between both games and the chairman agreed that where possible that would be seriously considered.

Josephine O’Donovan of Goleen was fighting a corner for the real junior B clubs when she said it was totally unfair on them to have to play big clubs like Bandon, who had intermediate players available to them. Goleen, and clubs like them, were struggling for numbers, while being asked to play against teams from big clubs who had senior and intermediate players available because their county board championships went so late in the season. She proposed that those big teams should have a special championship of their own. There was general agreement that the county championships running so late, August/September, was causing trouble as regards re-grading players who were unavailable for first round games and this was causing a severe imbalance at junior level. Kevin O’Donovan promised the county board would look into the problem but those players were entitled to play under General Rule.

Carbery hurling and football teams again came up for discussion and Carbery hurling selector, Dermot Hayes of Kilbrittain, was very critical of the new county championships which saw the Carbery divisional teams having to play in March. He said players were not interested in playing serious championship in March and unless this changed, Carbery hurlers, in particular, would continue to struggle.

The secretary pointed out that Carbery footballers had to play their championship game against UCC without their three inter-county players and those players didn’t play any senior club football in 2018. Little wonder, he said, that the Cork football team is struggling.

Dan Hourihane was critical of the fact that even though inter-county players want to play with their clubs, they were prevented from doing so by the ten-day rule before inter-county games. It was pointed out that this year the Cork hurling mentors had demanded not ten days clear of club games, but three weeks. It would be worse in 2019 as the Munster hurling championship was starting a week earlier. Concern was also expressed that when inter-county players were released from the county bubble to play with their clubs, those players weren’t exactly putting in the required effort with the clubs.

New incoming vice-chairman, Aidan O’Rourke of Newcestown, made a strong plea to get more ex-players and non-players involved in refereeing. Not only was the present band of referees dwindling and putting pressure on a small core of referees but the age profile of the referees in West Cork was worrying. He implored clubs to show respect for referees as abuse was a major reason why ex-players were not getting involved.

The treasurer’s (Pat O’Flynn) report showed that the board had made a healthy profit in 2018 but it was a freak year in some respects because finance from injuries had come through from the insurance company and the replay in the South West junior A football final was a huge bonus. It was pointed out that the provision of a 4G pitch was not abandoned but that a sub-committee was drawing up a feasibility study. Present club circumstances meant it would be a long-term project and that the main objective of the board for its centenary in 2025 was the acquisition of its own headquarters.

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