Leitrim GAA County Board Chairman Terence Boyle. Photo by Willie Donnellan
THE FOLLOWING IS THE FULL TEXT OF CHAIRMAN TERENCE BOYLE'S ADDRESS TO THE LEITRIM GAA 2017 COUNTY BOARD CONVENTION ON MONDAY, DECEMBER 11, IN THE BUSH HOTEL, CARRICK-ON-SHANNON.
On behalf of Leitrim GAA, I want to welcome you all to our convention this evening a special word of welcome to our president Andy Redican.
Looking back on the year it has been a very successful year on the GAA front with Connacht and All-Ireland titles coming to the county and Leitrim been represented in Croke Park.
Well done to all involved while progress was made there is a lot of work to be done and we must keep striving to raise the bar for Leitrim GAA.
2017 was a challenging year on the county scene and was a huge learning curve for all involved. We had a new management structure this year with Brendan Guckian at the helm ably assisted by Michael Moyles, Seamus Quinn and John O'Mahony.
We had a very young senior team this year, one of the youngest collective on the country, with some of the lads just out of minor. This was a huge step for these lads but I am confident that their experiences this year will stand them in good stead in the years ahead.
We had great expectations for our U21 team this year but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. The championship game against Galway was a crazy game - we had a nightmare first half where nothing went right. Then they came out in the second half and almost pulled off a miracle escape but unfortunately their efforts fell short.
We can take great pride and encouragement from their second half performance and they showed what this team is capable of and I am confident this group have a bright future with Leitrim.
Indeed a lot of these lads were part of the victorious Leitrim Junior team who won a Connacht title earlier this year. This was a huge achievement for the lads having to do it the hard way by beating the top two teams of Mayo and Galway.
This gave us an all Ireland semi final date with the mighty Kerry. Having lost most of this team to the senior team in the time lapse between Connacht final and the semi final, it didn’t bode well for us in limerick but I must say that the team did themselves and the county proud with their performance on the day and with a small bit of luck it could have been so different.
It goes to show we have a lot of talented players in the county and augurs well for the future and indeed a lot of these lads are now bidding for places in the senior team in 2018. Thanks to Seamus Quinn and Enda lyons for their efforts all year.
Thanks to Niall and Karen Gallogly for keeping the team fed and nourished all year. Thanks to the medical team especially Ciara our physio and also Ronan O’Rourke and Mel Gorman doctor.
I want to pay tribute to Mel for his dedication as he steps away from doctor duties this year. Mel has been a true servant to Leitrim GAA and I want to thank him for his loyal service and I want to take this opportunity to welcome Aoife Wrynn on board for 2018.
Thanks also to our kit men Leo and Pat and Brian Blake for their work with Senior and U21 teams.
Thanks also to our sponsors Joe and Rosie Dolan of the Bush Hotel for their continued senior and U21 teams sponsorship. Your continued support is much appreciated and want to welcome them on board again for this year and if any of your clubs are having a function please give them due consideration.
Thanks also to John McManus for his sponsorship and want to apologise for the mix up with the new jersey this year and want to insure that this will be rectified for the coming season.
Thanks also to Niall and Karen Gallogly for their sponsorship towards the new kit van.
As we look forward to the impending season, which is just round the corner, I am very optimistic and confident that we now have the panel and structures to make progress and want to wish the players and management the best of luck in 2018
Hurling may be the secondary sport in the county but 2017 has been a year to remember for everyone involved in the promotion of hurling in Leitrim winning an All-Ireland title at U16 and our senior team been defeated in the final of the Lory Meagher in Croke Park.
This was a very special day for all in Leitrim GAA especially the dedicated followers of the hurlers. It was great to be part of the day to see a Leitrim team running out onto Croke Park.
Full credit must go to the team and management for all their efforts all year thanks to Michael Coleman, Martin Cunniffe, Paddy O’Connor, Paddy Phelan and Miriam Cunniffe for their unquestioned dedication to hurling.
A special word of thanks to Paddy Phelan for his total dedication to hurling for a long number of years and it was great that his hard work paid off and he finally got a team to Croke Park. Thanks again Paddy and i want to wish you well in the future as he is taking a well earned break as he steps down as Chairman of the Hurling committee but I am sure he will keep a close eye on hurling matters as he hands over the reigns to his son Hillary.
Hillary was part of the management of the victorious U16 team who won the Stephen Dorigan tournament this year and was also involved with the U17 team in the Celtic challenge and got to the semi-final only to be shafted by a fixture clash with the footballers having to field a weakened team and still only lost by a point. With the exploits of our underage, the future for hurling is positive.
On the club scene there is a lot of challenges ahead and we all have a part to play in the promotion of hurling and must do everything to support any player who wishes to play both codes. Thankfully our schools are taking the initiative of introducing hurling to all our kids in school but we must insure that we have clubs to take the next step.
Congratulations to our three hurlers who won all star awards this year Liam Moreton, Clement Cunniffe and Conor Beirne and also the senior hurling team and Martin Cunniffe for their respective awards at the Leitrim sports awards.
We had a very good year on the club front with a new championship structure which went down very well. Congratulations to Mohill who regained the Fenagh cup and also secured league titles in Division 1 and 3 and Junior B title.
Full credit must go to Mohill who gave a great account of themselves and the county in the Connacht club against one of the powerhouses of Connacht football but just fell short. It just goes to show our clubs are now putting in a great effort and can compete with the best.
Congrats also to my own club Aughnasheelin on securing the Intermediate crown, it was a very special day to get to present a major trophy to my own club a day that will live long in my memory.
This year we had a new championship structure which seemed to go down very well and gave our club players more games in the championship and going into the last round all but two clubs were still in the hunt for the quarter final places .
I want to complement all our clubs as they are always trying to improve and thus raising the standard of football within the county. Congrats also to Ballinamore on Junior A and Ballinaglera on Division 2 crown and Carrigallen Division 4. Also Glencar manor on the U21 B Championship.
As we move forward, our club football is improving with a lot of our clubs making steady progress but we are not without challenges with a few clubs struggling and we must do all in our power to keep our clubs alive and players playing and possibly amalgamations at adult level may not be far away.
As of today, we only have one game remaining the U21 final which mother nature intervened yesterday and I want to thank the CCC for all their hard work in completing the fixture calendar in a very timely fashion.
There is huge problems in getting the fixtures completed with consideration for club and county players and there are a couple of motions on the clar to try to solve this issue. I would urge all delegates to give these motions serious consideration
Thanks also to our competition sponsors Auriva Senior championship, Fox Monumentals Intermediate championship, Pyramid Bookmakers Junior championship, Liam Higgins U21 championship, Paul Maye of Dunne’s bar and Swan Bar for sponsorship of the Leagues and also Gabriel Cronan Man of the Match awards for Senior, Intermediate and Minor and Lyric Ballinamore for Man of the Match for Junior and U21.
Jerome McWeeney, James McWeeney, Maura Mulvey and new Leitrim GAA President Andy Redican pictured at the Leitrim GAA Convention
I would like to thank all our referees for their continued service to Leitrim GAA. Thanks also to their umpires who play a very important role in our games. Thanks also to referees coordinators Sean McCartin and Barbara who looks after the underage games.
We had a huge amount of games this year and our coordinators were under pressure to make sure all our games were covered and thankfully they succeeded in their efforts.
We desperately need more referees to come on board and we have increasing number of clubs with no referees. This situation cannot continue and it won’t be long before games will be cancelled due to no referee been available.
We are constantly looking for new referees but how can we encourage anyone to take up refereeing when they see the abuse our referees have to endure week in week out, it is a thankless job and, regardless what they do, they are wrong in someone’s eyes.
We all have a role in promoting referees the first major step is to show our referees a little respect. We can definitely take an example from other codes. Some of the behaviour I have witnessed this year against referees is an absolute disgrace and clubs should be ashamed of the behaviour of their supporters.
We, in the County Board, are not without blame for not dealing with these indiscretions but I can assure you that having reviewed the year this type of behaviour towards referees will not be tolerated going forward.
We will be hitting the offending clubs where it hurts as our clubs are responsible for their supporters. If this rot isn’t stamped out we will have no one to ref our games.
I want to complement our referees on national and Connacht panels Eamon O’Grady, Ray McBrien, Michael McGirl, Patrick Guckian, Kevin Mallon and Enda Egan and also Brendan Sammon and Mick McGirl on their awards this year.
2017 has been a landmark year for Leitrim GAA as we embarked on a new underage structure and following the feedback from the review forum, which was mostly positive, it looks like we have a formula that we can work with. There are a few minor issues with fixtures and U11 but these can be ironed out.
We will continue to engage with all to insure we keep improving. Thanks to all our clubs for embracing our new structures. I believe the future of all our clubs is looking after our young players and we in Leitrim GAA are committed to helping out our clubs in this regard.
James Glancy has been a great help in this regard and has run many coaching workshops which were very popular with all our coaches. I want to thank Thomas and Hughie for all the work they put in to try to improve our coaching within the county and have to be complimented on all the projects that are on going.
Thanks also to all our coaches for the endless hours they put in to help our youngsters.
The end of this year has seen the departure of one of the stalwarts of coaching as Jimmy Holahan retired at the end of November. Jimmy has served Leitrim well for a long number of years and I want to thank him for his loyal service and wish him well in his retirement.
I want to welcome Enda Lyons on board as he takes over Jimmy’s mantle. Enda is no stranger to Leitrim and I am sure he will be a huge addition to coaching in Leitrim.
We are constantly try to improve our lot and have made a application for a further GDA to work with our clubs and I am confident that this will be achieved in 2018.
As you can see from Hughie’s Report, there is constant development going on and everyone needs to be complimented on their efforts. Thanks to all the coaches who give of their time to help with all our development squads; thanks also to the minor committee of Gerry Gallogly, Mary Kenny, Noeleen Geoghegan, Barbara Byrne and Kevin Mallon for overseeing all.
Thanks to all our sponsors for our underage as detailed in Mary’s report your support is very much appreciated .
We now live in a world where instant communication is a must and if we don’t embrace it we will be left behind.
Thanks to our IT committee especially our PRO Declan who keeps all our followers on facebook and twitter up to date and with live updates on our matches it is still proving very popular. As you can see from Declan’s report this is the future of communication.
Thankfully this year, we finally saw the new website developed and is proving very popular and it is specially geared towards mobile devices so we are always at hand. I want to acknowledge the work Brendan Doyle has put in to get this project across the line.
Brendan was responsible for the development of the old site when we were ahead of our time but was away from Leitrim GAA for a number of years and it is no surprise that we are back where we belong thanks to Brendan taking charge again.
We in the GAA world are not good at promoting all the good work that goes on and I would urge all our clubs to use the club section to promote all the good work that goes on within our clubs.
Thanks also to James Molloy and Declan for the excellent programmes that they produced during the year publications to be proud of.
SCOR AGUS CULTUR
I would like to thank our scor committee under the leadership of Claire Crossan for their promotion of the cultural side of the GAA.
Leitrim has a very proud tradition of Scor participation and Scor success and this year we claimed another All-Ireland title when Glencar/Manorhamilton were victorious in figure dancing.
It was great to be in Belfast to witness the great excitement of Leitrim and Manor claim an All-Ireland medal well done to all involved.
It was a special day for Leitrim as we had five acts in the finals Aisling Maxwell Sean O’Heslin’s, Aiden Dockery Bornacoola, St Mary’s music and Glencar Manor figure and set dancing and also Bornacoola in Question Time.
I want to thank all in our clubs who promote the cultural side of the GAA and maybe there are people in our clubs that are not blessed with football or hurling skills and could be blessed with singing dancing or music skills and could become part of your club.
I would encourage all clubs to participate this year and wish all the best in 2018 and maybe we could bring another All-Ireland to the county.
Treasurer Martin McCartin pictured with Auditor Con Dolan at Convention
As always, finance is the major burden on the county as with all our clubs. This time last year at convention, we were left with the position of treasurer vacant as Brian Gordon was stepping down which was a concern for us going forward.
These concerns were short lived and, as the say good things, come to those who wait. Martin came into the role in January and I have to say he has been a breath of fresh air to the county. He has been a gentleman to deal with and has approached his duties in a very professional manner.
As you can see his first set of accounts to convention is testament to his hard work and dedication. In fairness to Martin, we were not in a good place starting off as there were a lot of outstanding debts from the previous year.
We have to be very careful in regards to spending and I have to thank the players and management of our senior team in this regard who worked with us to maximise our resources to the best effect.
A major help this year was the employment of Brian Blake as administrator who helped in all aspects of finance and administrator to senior teams and the Annaduff training centre. We took on a new financial package from Croke Park this year and this presented us with an even further challenge as this was totally new.
I want to thank Brian for the huge amount of time he had to put in the last few months to get all sorted for year end.
I have to thank Croke Park staff and especially Fergal Ormsby for the help and support the gave us as we had to get to grips with the coding system and there are always teething problems the first year.
Going forward, this system will be very beneficial to us as it can give very detailed breakdown of income and expenditure.
We also had a change of auditors this year and I want to thank Diarmuid Martin of Healy Martin Accountants and Collette for their support to Leitrim for over 20 years.
I want to welcome Con Dolan on board as our new auditors and want to thank Con and Fionola for their assistance in getting us across the line con is no stranger to Leitrim GAA as he was accountant for the minor board for a long number of years.
Even though we are showing a a decent surplus for the year, unfortunately this doesn’t mean we have a surplus in the bank as we cleared the outstanding debts so the challenges continue and with New York on the cards for this year this will be a further burden on finances.
Our Supporters Club continues to be the backbone of our finances. Thanks to our committees for all the work the put in year after year under the guidance of John Mulvey and Shay Reynolds in Leitrim and Mike Feeney in Dublin and, of course, Jim Meehan who keeps an eye on the financial end.
Thanks also to you the clubs for your continued support and everyone that supports the draw every year and also to Cox’s for their main sponsorship and to all our other sponsors. Thanks also to Jerome who organises supporters busses to away games.
As always we rely on the generosity of all our sponsors at all the different levels and I want to thank you all for your continued support.
HEALTH & WELLBEING/GAMES FOR ALL
The health of all our members is a priority for us all in the GAA and we are striving to provide a support mechanism for all our communities.
I want to thank Barbara for taking on chair of this committee with the help of Niall Brady, Hubert McHugh, Declan Loftus, Katherine Williams and Gerry Gallogly and their continued efforts to promote health and wellbeing in our clubs.
It was great to be part of the seminar held in the Bush earlier this year, “Leitrim’s Health is Leitrim’s Wealth” spearheaded by our own Hubert McHugh and Valerie Coogan I want to complement Barbara and the committee for producing the contacts leaflet for all clubs and also developing our critical incident plan.
I want to urge all clubs to appoint a healthy club officer and we can provide officer training early in the new year. Congratulations to Melvin Gaels on them receiving Healthy Club status in Croke Park recently having completed their healthy club programme and I would urge more clubs to get involved
I want to thank Enda Tiernan for his work in the games for all programme and it was great that we could host the launch of the Wheelchair hurling earlier this year. Thanks also to Padraig Layden and Mary McKeon from the Community school in Ballinamore for hosting the event and we had the Uachtarain Tofa John Horan presenting awards on the day.
If there is anyone out there that would be interested in playing the game please contact Enda or any of us and we can point you in the right direction as Leitrim doesn’t have a representative on the Connacht team
On the development front, we are making progress with trying to get our training facility completed, be that at a slow pace. We are conscious of the financial implications to further burden the county with another loan to complete the centre but we are making progress in other regards.
The gym is now completed and up and running and, as you can see ,the car park has finally be cleared and is nearing completion.
In regards to Pairc Sean, we upgraded the scoreboard this year and I want to thank Paul Maye for his generous contribution towards the cost. Thanks also the many sponsors who sponsored perimeter signs for Pairc Sean and this will go towards upgrading the perimeter fence around Pairc Sean.
Thanks also to the Social Scheme workers in Pairc Sean and also Sean and Rosin in the office and also to the ladies who come in on match days to cater for us and looks after us so well.
Thanks also to all our stewards who make match days possible and also to St. Mary’s for the use of their facilities and their continued support is very much appreciated.
I want to complement all our clubs for their continued commitment to upgrading their facilities and want to congratulate Bornacoola on winning Club Grounds of the Year and want to compliment them on the opening of their new clubrooms this year.
Our club facilities are improving all the time and I want to thank clubs for making their facilities available to us when needed.
Thanks to Pat Feely for his work as development officer for the last five years and who moves on to pastures new in Connacht.
As we look forward we are embarking on a new development plan for Leitrim GAA in conjunction with Croke Park and Connacht council and will be finalised for april under the watchful eye of P.J. Meehan.
Thanks also to PJ for his endless work looking after the insurance needs o f all our players and units he has a great grasp of the insurance scheme and works well with all our clubs. The five year rule also comes into play as PJ steps down as Central Council delegate and I want to thank him for representing us for the last five years in headquarters.
Delegates study the Convention booklet
Thanks also to our dedicated committee under the stewardship of Kevin Doonan who look after handball affairs within the county and all who represent us in the various competitions throughout the year.
I would like to thank everyone who help out for Leitrim gaa, to all our management teams at all levels, THE best of luck in the coming year.
thanks also to all sub committees who do all the groundwork all year, also the executive for guiding me all year and especially Attracta, our hard working secretary, for the professional way she conducts her business.
We have a few changes in positions on the management this year and I want to thank all for their continued dedication to Leitrim.
There was one disappointing aspect to this as we had five vacant positions this year and no new blood was forthcoming from the clubs, even though Stephen is new to our executive, he has served Leitrim at the highest level before and I want to welcome him back on board.
Thanks also to the local media for promoting our games with extensive coverage to Leitrim Observer Shannonside radio and ocean Fm. Gur a maith agat to John Connolly, Willie Donnellan, Philip Rooney, P.J. Leddy, John Lynch and Kevin Blessing.
I would like to thank John Lynch for his coverage over the years and want to wish him well as he has embarked on a new chapter in his career.
Thanks also to Terese Foy, Declan Gaffney and James Moloy for their photo coverage.
On behalf of Coiste Liatroim, I want to acknowledge the help and support of Connacht council especially John Prenty, Adrian Hassett and John Tobin, mile buiochas to you all. Thanks also to the many in Croke Park who are only to willing to help with any queries especially our own Fergal McGill and Colin Regan.
I would like to say a special word of thanks to Cathy and Tom for all their assistance re financial matters.
I would like to extend my sincere sympathy to all who were bereaved during the year.
A special word of condolence to the Flynn family on the death of my predecessor Joe earlier this year. Ar dheis de go raibh anam.
Finally thanks to you all for supporting me in my role and I appreciate you putting your faith in me to be your representative for the coming year. We will continue to strive to improve the fortunes of the GAA community and working together we can learn valuable lessons and improve our lot in Leitrim GAA and thus improve our future.
Go raibh maith agat aris agus is main liom leat go leir a nollag sona agus sport rathuil bhliain nua.
Traolach O Baoil