Munster GAA Annual Convention

The 2011 Munster GAA Convention took place this evening (Friday March 4th) at the Ballykisteen Hotel and Golf Resort in County Tipperary. Among the speakers on the night were Munster GAA Chairman Sean Walsh, Munster GAA CEO Pat Fitzgerald, Munster GAA Deputy CEO Enda McGuane, Munster GAA Treasurer Michael Power and Munster GAA PRO Jim Forbes.

Many tributes were paid to Michael Power and Jim Forbes who stepped down from their roles as Munster GAA Treasurer and Munster GAA PRO respectively following their 3 year terms.

Following an election, Michael Fitzgerald (Limerick) defeated Derry Murphy (Kerry) to become the Munster GAA Treasurer while Ed Donnelly (Tipperary) was elected unopposed to the position of Munster GAA PRO.

The full list of Munster GAA officers elected for 2011 are –

Cathaoirleach: Seán Breathnach (Ciarraí) – Chairman: Sean Walsh (Kerry)

Leas-Cathaoirleach: Roibéard an tSeacha (an Clár) – Vice-Chairman: Robert Frost (Clare)

Rúnaí na Comhairl : Padraig Mac Gearail – Munster GAA CEO : Pat Fitzgerald

Leas-Rúnaí na Comhairl: Eanna Mac Dubhain – Munster GAA Deputy CEO – Enda McGuane

Cisteoir: Micheál Mac Gearailt (Luimneach) – Treasurer: Michael Fitzgerald (Limerick)

Oifigeach Chaidreamh Poiblí: Éamon Ó Donnghaile (Tiobraid Árann) – PRO: Ed Donnelly (Tipperary)

Notes

Michael Fitzgerald – Newly elected Munster GAA Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald is a native of Kilmallock in Limerick and held the position of Limerick County Board Treasurer from 1992 to 2002.

Ed Donnelly – newly elected Munster GAA PRO Ed Donnelly is a member of the Moycarkey-Borris GAA club and served as Tipperary County Board PRO from 2003 to 2008.

Click here to download the Convention booklet for 2011 – PDF format (4MB)

2011 Munster Council Officers

Back row – Enda McGuane (Deputy CEO – Clare), Ed Donnelly (PRO – Tipperary), Mike Fitzgerald (Treasurer – Limerick)
Front row – Pat Fitzgerald (CEO – Limerick), Sean Walsh (Chairman – Kerry), Robert Frost (Vice-Chairman – Clare)
Photo courtesy of George Hatchell

 

Oráid An Chathaoirligh

Seán Breathnach

Ag Comhdháil Bhliantiúil Comhairle Na Mumhan 2011

In Ostán Ballykisteen, Co. Thiobraid Árann

04/03/2011

A dhaoine uaisle, is mór an onóir domsa mar Chathaoirleach ar Chomhairle Na Mumhan bheith i lathair anseo anocht. Ba mhaith liom fáilte is fiche a chur roimh gach éinne don Chomhdháil Bhliantiuil seo. Impím oraibh tamall a thabhairt dom mo chuid smaointe agus mo chuid thuaraimí a chur ós bhúr gcomhair.

Ag féachaint siar is feidir a rá go raibh bliain mhaith torthúil ag Comhairle Na Mumhan. Bliain an-shásúil ar fad a bhi againn. Chuir gach duine a lán oibre isteach ó thus na bliana agus mar a deir an seanfhocal “mura gcuirtear san Earrach ní bhainfear san Fhómhar”. Tá na baill agus oifigigh an chomhairle comh maith leis na fo choistí ag obair go dian dícheallach agus tá torthaí na h-oibre sin le feiscint go soiléir in dTuarascáil an Rúnaí. Ag deireadh na bliana is féidir a rá gur féidir le gach duine a bheith sásta lena gcuid oibre ar son an chomhairle agus molaim iad go léir. Tugann sé misneach, neart agus fuineamh dom go bhfuil an có oibriú idir na baill den chomhairle, mo chó oifigigh agus na fo choistí go láidir agus éífeachtach.

Gabhaim comhgáirdeachas do fhoireann sinsear iomána agus foireann iomána fé 21 Contae Thiobraid Árann agus foireann sinsear peile Contae Chorcaí a ghnóthaigh Craobh Uile Éireann amach anuraidh. Traoslaím leis na h-imreoirí, bainistaíócht agus oifigigh na contaetha agus traosláim leis na fóirne club Naomh Mhuire ó Chiarraí agus Fóirne iomána Ballymartle agus Meelin ó Chontae Chorcaí a ghnóthaigh Craobh uile Éireann na gClub le déanaí. Comh maith le sin ba mhaith liom mo chomhgháirdeachas a ghabháil le foireann mionúr iomána An Chlár agus le foireann mionúr peile Corcaí tar éís na taispeántaisí iontach a thug siad in gCluichí Ceannais Craobh Mionúr na hEireann. Tháinig siad an chomhgarach na craobh cluichí a bhuachaint agus bhí mí ádh orthu ag an deireadh.

It is my pleasure to address you once again as Cathaoirleach Comhairle Na Mumhan and to extend a very warm welcome to you all to our annual convention. Since we gathered for our last convention at The Listowel Arms Hotel this time last year we have seen the country go through a period of very rapid change with some institutions of the state going through a decline that was never thought possible in our lifetime. That the Gaelic Athletic Association is as strong as it was at anytime in its history is a testimony to the people who have been entrusted with running the organisation from club through to county and province right up to Croke Park level and the players that play our games both past and present.

If we, as an association, are to remain strong and vibrant then we must ensure that prudent planning for future of the way forward for our association must take place and this will have to happen from the smallest rural club to the biggest club in the association to ensure that the impact of the current economic climate doesn’t hinder our clubs, counties and provinces from carrying out the great work that they are doing at the moment. A work that is vital to every fabric of social life in every parish, town and city in this country. The history of the state will show that in times of recession, Gaelic Games attracted huge crowds through its gates and our own games here in the province proved that last year.

I firmly believe that it behoves us all as administrators at county, provincial and Croke Park levels to ensure that those who want to attend our games for the coming year should be in a position to do so. I also believe that we have a duty to the thousands of people who supported us at our games in the good years. Doing nothing about our admission prices is not an option at the present time.

While there are numerous calls for reducing our top prices for attending matches, I believe it goes far beyond this and that our members and particularly those with families and those that want to go on our terraces are accommodated, bearing in mind that the biggest drop off in attendances last year occurred on our terraces.

The Finance and Management Committee of the Council are actively working on pricing structures and schemes for accommodating people that want to attend our games and I believe, that with the approval of the Council, what we have on offer for this year’s championship games will be very acceptable and should also prove cost neutral as we envisage the pricing structures and schemes will bring extra people through our gates and particularly to our terraces. We are introducing incentives that will provide people with the opportunity to avail of these and not be restricted from attending by our prices.

As the income from our games is vital to the success of how our Council works and it has a huge impact on every facet of Council business. We must also be prudent in this respect to ensure the Council is able to work as heretofore on behalf of the counties and the clubs.

The coming year will see the Council building its new offices at Castletroy, Limerick and plans are at an advanced stage with the opening of tenders taking place earlier today. A lot of time and effort has gone into the sourcing of the site and designing an iconic building that will lift the status of Munster GAA and will also be a home for our Council meetings and sub bodies.

Paramount in our planning for the new building is our insistence on putting in place a financial programme over the next few years that ensures that we get the new headquarters that we want and at the same time continue our commitment to the clubs and to the counties of the province. It is hoped to have the financial package available to put to the Full Council shortly for ratification.

At our strategic review meeting at Mallow GAA Complex two weeks ago it was very evident that the subcommittee structures of the Council are working hard for and on behalf of the Council with the implementation of our Strategic Vision and Action document very much on course. As I stated at the launch of the plan on October 22nd 2009 the success of the plan would be down to how effective the committee structure worked and its success and failure depended on the work of each committee. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody involved for their time and help and commitment to the plan. The plan is there to ensure that the Council is successful going into the future. Detailed planning for the future is now more important than ever before because of the current economic situation of the country.

We are hearing firsthand the problems that clubs are facing at the moment and not all of them are about teams on the field, even if that is going to prove difficult for some clubs. The current situation among clubs is that some of them require help and definitely not all of it is financial. I am finding more than ever that club officers have a huge desire to learn how to fulfill their roles as club officers, roles that are changing and challenging in the current recession and clubs are finding it difficult like never before.

We, as a province, and you, as county officers must ensure that resources and personnel must be provided for officer training to take place but more importantly that the training that is provided is tailored to recognize the position that clubs now find themselves in and that best practice situations are advised, taken on board and more importantly acted upon by clubs. We as a Council should consider providing some financial assistance from our Club Development budget that we have set aside for clubs for the next two years. The importance of providing this equipment should not be underestimated. The strength of our association over the last 126 years was all units working together. This is now more important than ever.

Some club officers make the charge that people at County Board level, Provincial level and at Croke Park level don’t understand clubs or what’s happening in them. That could not be further from the truth. The current Uachtarán and Ard Stiúrthóir have both served at club officer level. Both our own CEO and myself have also served as club officers. Every current County Chairman and secretary in our Munster counties served as club officers and played a pivotal role in their clubs. The best way forward for this association is that we all work together for the common good of Cumann Lúthchleas Gael to ensure that we hold the same position of strength in 25 years time as we do now because we have achieved this has been achieved by working together.

At schools level we have been well served for a long number of years by dedicated people helping to promote our games to the highest level and give our players a platform to showcase their skills. Cumann Na mBunscol and the second level schools bodies continue to do great work under changing conditions to the school system and very much need our help to ensure Gaelic Games maintains the position it has in the schools system. We are working with Cumann Na mBunscol to provide them with assistance with their games programme. This is going to be done through our GDA programme in the province with the GDA in each district providing assistance to Cumann Na mBunscol in their area. I welcome very much this development.

Cumann Na h-IarBunscoileanna continues to promote our games to the highest level as is evident here in Munster with the very high-class competitions that they run. As Cathaoirleach of Comhairle Na Mumhan I would like to put forward the idea once again of a shortening of the time allotted to play the two senior competitions. I firmly believe that they should be completed by the middle of March at the latest. This can be achieved by restructuring the competition, taking the option of knockout and extra time instead of replays. It is not fair or right that some minor players should have to play three or four of the most important games of their lives in ten days because of a competition that starts in October and is not finished until April. No other sector is given that amount of time. This must be dealt with at national level to correct the inconsistency that is taking place.

Tá sé mar aidhm ag Cumann Lúthchleas Gael tacaíocht a thabhairt don Ghaeilge, damhsa Gaelach, ceol, amhránaíocht agus cultúr Gaelach i gcoitinne. Tá suíómh eolais tabhachtach, suimiúil agus spéisiúil curtha le chéile ag an gCoiste Cultúra agus táim cinnte go mbainfidh gach duine go bhfuil spéis acu sa chultúr náisiunta taithneamh agus tairbhe as a bhfuil ann. Traoslaím leis gCoiste Cultúra agus le gach duine a thug cabhair agus tacaíócht dóibh an suíomh iontach seo a chur le chéile. Molaim go h-ard an obair atá déanta agus tá toradh na hoibre sin le feiscint go soileir.

Tá sé mar dhualgas ag ár gCoiste Cultúra i gCúige Mumhan an cultúr Ghaelach agus An Ghaeilge a chur ar aghaidh agus a chothú in imeachtaí Comhairle Na Mumhan go háírithe i gcúrsaí Scór, cluichí agus Scoláireachtaí samhraidh sa Ghaeltacht. Bíonn Tráth na gCeist as Gaeilge á reáchtáil gach bliain le linn Seachtain na Gaeilge. Tosaíonn sé ag leibhéal an Chontae agus téann sé ar aghaidh go leibhéal an Chúige agus bíonn Comórtas Ceannais na hÉireann i bPáirc an Chrócaigh maidin Lá Fhéile Padraig roimh Cluichí Ceannais na gClub. Le blianta fada anuas tá daoine díograiseach ins na Coistí Chontae agus ins na Clubanna ag obair go dian dícheallach chun an Cultúr Ghaelach agus an teanga Ghaelach a chothú agus a leathnú in imeachtaí Cumann Lúthchleas Gael. Ghabhaim mo bhuíochas mór dos na daoine sin agus traoslaím leo as an dul chun chinn atá déanta acu. Ba mhaith liom arís mo bhuíochas a chur in iúl don Choiste Chultúra as an obair atá ar siúl acu agus gach rath a ghuí ar an obair sin.

Sometime in the near future a decision is going to be made on the future of the Interprovincial competition by Central Council and judging by the debate at the recent meeting of Central Council it looks very likely that it will be restored to the games calendar despite the fact that nobody including the CCCC can find a suitable date to play it and give it the status that its probable restoration deserves. I accept that many people have a huge attachment to the competition and particularly in this province with the games that were the Railway Cups and I stress “that were the Railway Cups” when the best players in the province always played the best from the other provinces in front of huge attendances who came to see the best players. This was probably their only opportunity to see them. With the saturation of games across our television screens, the skills of our best players have taken away the mystique of seeing the great players in the flesh. I can understand why people would have an attachment to the competition as it was played in its hay day and not the competition that we would now have. The inclusion of the Interprovincial Series in the games calendar cannot be at the expense of the dates in which we play our club competitions, club players and the All-Ireland Intermediate and Junior Club Championships have brought club competitions to a new level.

I would like t take this opportunity to congratulate Uachtarán Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, Criostóir Ó Cuana and Ard Stiúrthóir, Paraic Ó Dufaigh and Fergal McGill of Páirc An Chrócaigh in bringing to a successful conclusion the agreement between GAA and the GPA. This agreement is in my opinion. A long overdue one and now it will hopefully put to bed forever the unacceptable scenario of them and us or put more bluntly the players versus the rest. The signing of a five year agreement and the five year plan shows the willingness of the GAA and the GPA to the success of the agreement. Players are an integral of Cumann Lúthchleas Gael and they make a huge contribution to the success of the association but the effort of officers and volunteers at every level of the association must also be recognised as playing a similar role towards the success of the association as they have done over the last 126 years. The signing of this agreement brings a level of responsibility and respect that didn’t appear to be present prior to this and hopefully we have seen an end to the problems that have beset counties in our province in the past.

Ba mhaith liom mo bhíochas a ghabháíl anois dos na triúr oifigigh atá ag imeacht uainn anocht. D’oibrigh siad go dian dícheallach as son Comhairle Na Mumhan. Táim dóchasach go leanfaidh siad ag tabhairt seirbhís do Chumann Lúthchleas Gael agus bígí cinnte nach ndéanfaidh Comhairle Na Mumhan dearmad go deo ar na tréimhsí a bhí acu mar oifigigh agus go raibh toradh sár mhaith ar an obair a rinne siad ar son an Chomhairle.

At tonight’s Annual Convention three of our officers have come to the end of their terms of office and it is an honour for me to put on record that their contribution to this Council has been enormous. Their combined talents, experience and dedication will be a huge loss to the Council but I’m confident that all three of them will continue to give the association the benefit of their vast knowledge and leadership skills in whatever capacity they decide in the years ahead. As an association we can ill afford the loss of people of such high calibre, ability and integrity as Jimmy O’Gorman, Michael Power and Jim Forbes.

Jimmy joined the Council as the Waterford delegate in 1993 and he was a very progressive and enlightened member of what has more recently been called the CCC. Having served so successfully as Waterford delegate for 10 years it was not surprising that when he decided to stand for election as Vice Chairman of the Council in 2003 his progressive views and his known ability to bring them to a fruition was recognised by the Convention delegates when they elected him Vice Chairman. For 3 years as Chairman of Council’s Coaching and Games Development Committee he was very innovative and brought about many significant and welcome changes to the coaching structures of the Council and in the counties. When he succeeded Sean Fogarty as Chairman of the Council at the 2006 Convention his style of leadership and ability to be decisive and sometimes make unpopular decisions without fear or favour was widely acknowledged throughout the association. I was very fortunate to have the benefit of his advice, support and friendship at my beck and call for the past 4 years. Your dedication and contribution to this Council, Jimmy, is enormous and you can look back with pride on your many years of dedicated and unselfish service.

Michael Power served as Tipperary delegate to the Council for 6 years and like Jimmy O’Gorman he was also a very committed and progressive member of the CCC. For the past 3 years he has been Treasurer of the Council where he brought his professional skills as an Accountant to the Finance and Management Committee. He used his exceptional talent and skills as an accountant with distinction and his unselfish dedication to the work of the Council was a great asset. His huge contribution not only in the preparation of budgets but also to devising financial plans and governance along with assessing their implementation was enormous. We were most fortunate to have the benefit of his advice and knowledge at this very critical time for the national economy and the benefit of that advice and knowledge can clearly be seen in the sound state of our Annual Accounts during the past 3 years of financial and economic turmoil in this country. It can be said without fear of contradiction that having Michael as Treasurer of the Council during that period of economic decline was definitely an example of good fortune in having an experienced financial administrator in the right place at the right time. I congratulate and thank you most sincerely, Michael, for your sound advice and guidance of the Council’s finances and governance during this critical period in our history.

Jim Forbes brought his vast experience in Public Relations as former PRO, Vice Chairman and Chairman of Cork County Board to the role of Council PRO for the past three years. A very difficult and challenging job with rapid changes in communication technology and communication methods that requires the PRO to become proficient in using this technology. It also requires vast leadership skills in motivating County PRO’s and others involved in the communication of GAA activities to also embrace this technology. Jim has been very successful in meeting this challenge and also introducing and successfully implementing Games Promotion projects for our championships during his three year term. He has been a very dedicated officer of the Council devoting his time unselfishly and his boundless energy to the role of Public Relations, ensuring that all the activities of the Council were regularly reported in the national and local media. Last year he was the recipient of the recently formed Gaelic Writers’ Association PRO of the Year Award, an honour that was well deserved. His vast experience as an administrator in his county was evident in all his contributions at the Council’s Finance and Management Committee. It is no surprise then that his county has chosen him to lead the implementation of the new under age structures introduced in Cork this year. Your county is very fortunate, Jim, that you have accepted this new role and I’m confident that with you at the helm these new structures will be successfully implemented and I wish you every success.

I also want to pay tribute to Willie Roche, handball delegate, Des Cullinane, Third Level Colleges delegate who are both ending their five year term and to Limerick Delegate, Oliver Mann who is leaving the Council to take up the position of Vice Chairman of Limerick County Board. I thank them for their contribution to the Council and wish them well in their new roles.

Finally, I extend my thanks to my fellow officers for their help and support during the year thanks the officers of the sub committees for their stewardship of their respective committees, without which the Council could not function.

I also want to extend a special thanks to our Rúnaí and CEO, Pat Fitzgerald and thank him for his help, support and advice during the year and also to Leas Rúnaí, Enda McGuane who has excelled in his role Deputy CEO. Thanks to our office staff at Áras Mumhan, Kathleen and Nuala for their dedication and hard work. It is very reassuring that their work behind the scenes, which often goes unnoticed, is carried out so efficiently on a daily basis throughout the year and I am delighted to acknowledge that tonight.

In conclusion to all the members of the Council and the delegates and officers from the counties, I thank you for your attendance here tonight and for your continued support during the year. I wish each and everyone of you and your families a very happy and sporting year. Go raibh maith agaibh go léir.