Waterford’s Walsh joins in condemnation of Rules ‘thuggery’

THE chairman of the West Waterford GAA Board last night joined the increasingly large number of people who want the International Rules series scrapped.

In his address to the board’s annual convention in Dungarvan, Paddy Walsh launched one of the strongest denunciations yet of what he called “a discredited series”, and said what they all saw on their television screens from Australia last October was “thuggery and violence masquerading as sport.”

Mr Walsh said the “naked assaults” perpetrated on the Irish players should be totally unacceptable to everyone in the GAA.

“If what happened in the name of sport occurred on the public footpath or highway, the assailants would most probably be serving prison sentences”, said Mr Walsh.

“There is no gain, only pain, and a lot of physical pain at that, from this now discredited series. The time has come to discard it onto the scrap heap,” he added.

Mr Walsh said he was also concerned about the ongoing “club versus county” conflict and said it was time that county team managements began to give a lot more consideration to the needs of clubs.

The chairman said that county team training sessions should be restricted to two a week so that boards can get on with the job of playing their domestic championships and more importantly completing them within a reasonable time schedule.

“Someone, somewhere in authority, is going to have to grasp the nettle to ensure that clubs don’t continue to be relegated into second place behind county teams,” said Mr Walsh.

“The boards, county and divisional, and most importantly of all the players, deserve a better deal than they are getting from the various county team managements.”

The chairman said that he wants the best for county teams and wants them all to be as well prepared as possible.

He said club players will become totally disillusioned and fed up with the way things are going and could walk way from the game.

Reflecting on the past year on the inter-county front, Mr Walsh said it was another year of “unfulfilled expectations” from a Waterford perspective.

“Once again the senior hurlers were there or thereabouts but the long overdue breakthrough for All-Ireland glory which we are yearning for continues to elude us,” he said.

“It certainly hasn’t been for the want of commitment on the part of players and management, but for some reason, it is difficult to pinpoint why we have yet to reach the Holy Grail.”

Mr Walsh was returned unopposed for an 11th successive year and all the other main outgoing officials were also returned without a contest.

The only contest of the night was to elect the board’s three representatives to the County Board.

The outgoing trio of John Lyons (Tallow), Paddy Walsh (Fourmilewater), and Tomas Ó Cadhla (Ring) were challenged by Kilrossanty’s Tony Coffey who topped the poll and was elected on the first count.

Walsh and Lyons were re-elected on the second count with Ó Cadhla losing out after serving in the position for several years.

Chairman: Paddy Walsh (Colligan/Emmetts); Vice chair: Tom Cunningham (Stradbally); Secretary: Anthony Walsh (Colligan/Emmetts); Assistant sec: Pat Grant (Fourmilewater); Treasurer: Eddie Cunningham (Tallow); Registrar: Seamus O’Brien (Abbeyside/Ballinacourty).

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