Settle Croke Park issue once and for all

WATERFORD chairman Paddy Joe Ryan has urged the GAA to make a final decision on whether or not to open Croke Park to other sporting organisations.

“It is of the utmost importance that a firm decision is taken and not have it visited on a year in and year out basis as it happening at the present time,’’ he told delegates at last night’s convention in Dungarvan.

“I believe it to be in the best interests of the whole Association that the controversial issue should be debated and decided on, and whatever that the decision, the result should be accepted by all shades of opinion and then put to bed once and for all,” he said.

Mr Ryan also reiterated his opposition to alcohol sponsorship in GAA. “Sport and alcohol,” he said, “are in no way compatible, and it is time for the Association to send out that message loud and clear by discontinuing all such deals currently in existence with these companies.”

The chairman also expressed reservations about the Hurling Development Committee (HDC) proposals.

“Why,” he asked, “are the proposed changes in the format of the hurling championships considered necessary. There have been no complaints about the way the championship has been programmed over the last few years.”

Having lauded the historic efforts of the county’s U21 footballers in winning the provincial for the first time this year, Mr Ryan was highly critical of those responsible for next year’s NFL schedule as Waterford will have four away games before Easter necessitating overnight stays.

The chairman launched a scathing attack on those imposing “massive fines” for minor sideline breaches and infringements.

The sole change on the executive is John Jackson who succeeds the retiring PRO, Paddy Dunphy.

Officers: Chairman Paddy Joe Ryan (Fourmilewater); Vice do Pat Flynn (Passage East); Secretary Seamus Grant (Mount Sion); Treasurer Tony Morrissey (Geraldines); PRO John Jackson (Ballyduff Upper); Development Officer John O’Leary (Ballyduff Lower); Games And Coaching Officer Par Moore (Abbeyside/Ballinacourty); Youth Officer Pat Grant (Fourmilewater); Oifigeach Gaeilge Seamas O hAonghusa (Mount Sion); Munster Council (2), Jimmy O’Gorman (Lismore), Tommy Hennessy (Kill); Central Council Seamas O’Brien (Abbeyside/Ballinacourty).

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