A NEW era dawned for the Carbery GAA Board when they held their convention in the BEDA hall in Ballineen on Friday, 3rd, last.
By the end of the meeting four new officers had been installed with one more to be appointed by the incoming executive.
The positions of chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary and Oifigeach Ghaelige all changed hands while a new development officer will be appointed.
Of the four officerships, three were returned unopposed with only one election taking place, with Donal McCarthy, outgoing secretary, opposing outgoing development officer, David Whyte, for the position of vice-chairperson. On a vote of 98 to 76, with all 26 clubs voting, Whyte, of St Mary’s, becomes the new vice-chairperson.
Aidan O’Rourke of Newcestown becomes the new chairperson, with Don Desmond of Bandon taking the position of secretary, and Gabrielle Crowley of Randal Óg taking over as Oifigeach Ghaeilge. With five of the eight officerships now in new hands it signals a new era for the Carbery Board and the biggest task facing the new executive will be to decide on the format of the junior championships and to introduce the new format in 2022.
There are two options on the table for the junior football championship and two for the hurling. Clubs are in the process of discussing the options but the final decision will be in the hands of the incoming CCC, which will be chaired by the new vice-chairperson David Whyte. The various options were discussed at convention and it became clear that clubs are fairly equally split on the options. In football, Option 1 would split the teams into junior A and junior B, with 16 teams graded A and nine teams graded B. Five of the present junior A teams would be re-graded to B under option 1. The championships would be run off on a group system. Option 2 would see 24 junior teams graded A with Goleen remaining the only club in junior B. The first phase of the championship would be run on a group format and then the teams, according to results would be divided into Divisions 1, 2 and 3 championships. The Division 1 winners would be Mick McCarthy Cup winners and would represent Carbery in the county junior A championship.
In junior hurling, Option 1 would see eight teams in junior A and nine teams in junior B in 2022, the championships to be run on the group system. Three junior A teams would be re-graded immediately. Under Option 2, the present system of 11 teams in junior A and six teams in junior B would pertain in 2022, the championships to be run on a group basis. Two teams would be relegated each season, with one promoted from B, until a figure of eight in junior A and nine in junior B was reached. An appeal was made at convention for all clubs to send in an email to the secretary with their choice of options to enable the CCC to make an informed decision.
The liveliest debate of the night took place on the unsatisfactory conclusion to the junior A football championship in 2021, which victimised both finalists, Tadhg MacCarthaigh and St Mary’s. The winners were forced to play in the county championship three days later and outgoing chairman Tom Lyons stated that this had prevented MacCarthaighs from winning the county championship. There was also criticism of the new split season, with limited time to run both hurling and football championships, Randal Óg pointing out that they had played 24 weekends in a row, bar one, and were not finished yet. The question was asked how the Carbery Board intended to fit in its new championships in 2022, on a group basis, on such a limited time scale and the outgoing chairman pointed out that it would be a huge challenge for the incoming executive.
Concern was also expressed that the county administrator was advocating the abolishing of the U21 grade in favour of a new U19 grade and it was pointed out that the U21 grade had always been one of the glamour competitions in the division.
The report of treasurer, Pat O’Flynn, showed the board had recovered from the large loss in 2020 and had registered a substantial surplus in 2021, mainly due to the attendances at games, which had been banned for much of 2020.
Outgoing development officer David Whyte reported that despite the financial hit of Covid, clubs were again embarking on developments, including Carbery Rangers (new astro turf pitch), Bantry Blues (second playing pitch), Barryroe (refurbishment of first pitch and development of second pitch), St Mary’s (hurling wall), Clann na nGael (dressing rooms) and Muintir Bháire (dressing rooms).
Carbery officers for 2022 are as follows: President, Danny Warren (St Mary’s); Chairperson, Aidan O’Rourke (Newcestown); Vice-chairperson, David Whyte (St Mary’s); Secretary, Don Desmond (Bandon); Treasurer, Pat O’Flynn (Ballinascarthy); PRO, Martina Burns (Clann na nGael); Coaching Officer, Charlie Wilson (Newcestown); Oifigeach Ghaeilge, Gabrielle Ní Chruadhlaoich (Randal Óg); Development Officer, (to be appointed); County Board delegates, Aidan O’Rourke and Danny Warren.