No ‘special cases’ for opening of grounds, says Munster chief

THE GAA’s decision to allow rugby and soccer to be played in Croke Park precluded consideration of any other ground being ‘opened up’, Munster Council Chairman Sean Fogarty emphasised yesterday.

Talk of a ‘special case’ being made for Limerick’s Gaelic Grounds had been firmly rejected, he pointed out.

To have considered this would inevitably have led to special cases being made for county grounds, he said in the course of a short address to the Tipperary Convention yesterday.

He was also critical of what he described as the ‘add-ons,’ referring to moves to have the Irish soccer team train in Croke Park in preparation for the game against San Marino — which is being played in San Marino.

“We gave them the main course and we will dictate the choice of the starters and desert,’’ he commented.

Mr Fogarty also raised the controversial rule limiting the terms of office of County Board officerships to five years, saying that they were ‘heading for trouble’ unless the regulation was amended at next year’s Congress. Otherwise, they could reach a situation of ‘musical chairs,’ where officers would be taking on roles they were not suited to and were not interested in filling.

Meanwhile a Fermanagh GAA official warned clubs about claims that some members were being paid for the time they gave to the association.

Outgoing chairman Joe McGurn, who was succeeded by Peter Carty, said the time was coming shortly that players would be paid, despite all the “whitewash about amateur status”.

“It will happen if it is not already happening.

“While this is going on at county level it is more worrying of rumours of it going on at club level. I want to warn delegates to be careful of the road you are going down.”

His comments came following an explosive pre-Convention weekend revelation from ex-Erne Gaels treasurer Raymond Gallagher that his club had paid three members €2,100 to train teams.

When contacted at the weekend, Mr Gallagher said that the decision to reveal the fee was made by the “club committee”.

He said that there were “no problems within the club when I presented the accounts and they were accepted”.

OFFICERS: Chairman; Peter Carty; Vice-Chairman, Patsy Dolan; Secretary, Greg Kelly; Asst Secretary, Tiernach Mahon; Treasurer, Vincent Martin; Asst Treasurer, Hugh Crudden; Youth Officer, Not filled; Development Officer, Patsy Dolan; Coaching Officer, Joe Donnelly; Cultural Officer, Tom Cullen; PRO, Deirdre Donnelly; Ulster Council, Brian Armitage; Martin McBrien; Central Council, John McElroy.

* One of the most successful clubs in the country is spearheading a campaign to have UCD and other colleges’ teams barred from competing in the AIB All-Ireland club championships.

Athenry, three-times winners of the All-Ireland club hurling title, want a ban on college and university teams.

The Galway club, who won the All-Ireland title in 1997, 2000 and 2001, say that allowing the likes of UCD to compete is tampering with the core of the competition.

Athenry have taken a motion to the Galway County Board in a bid to have the rules changed by Congress next year.

Delegate Jarlath Cloonan, the former Galway team manager, said schools and colleges have their own competitions.

“There is a ban on divisional or group teams competing in the All-Ireland club championships and this should be extended to include schools and colleges.

“They are tampering with one of the greatest competitions in the GAA and it is time for it to stop,” he said.

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