Criticism of decision to abandon open draw

THE decision to abandon the open draw in the senior football championship was slammed by former chairman Noel Walsh at last evening’s Munster Council convention at the West County Hotel in Ennis.

The man who steered the original proposal through, he said it was ‘a shame’ it was changed. And, while accepting the view of outgoing Secretary Simon Moroney that the decision had been arrived at democratically, he wondered if it had been decided the same way by the individual counties.

The old system had worked very well for the previous 17 years, he said, pointing to Clare’s breakthrough in 1992 and the fact that both Limerick and Tipperary each contested finals. “Irrespective of whether they won or not, they were given an opportunity that was not there for players for most of the previous 50 years.’’

Responding, Chairman Jimmy O’Gorman said he had ‘no doubt’ that delegates voted ‘as instructed.’

A Clare proposal to revert to an open draw, along with a motion to play all Munster hurling finals in Thurles were ruled out of order.

Meanwhile, John Landers (Limerick), chairman of the sub-committee set up to examine the state of football in the ‘weaker’ counties, stated that progress ultimately could only be made by the counties themselves.

To that end, they will be meeting with officials shortly to develop a partnership strategy.

Echoing comments made by the Secretary in his report, outgoing Treasurer Ger Hickey complained that the Council didn’t get ‘one cent’ from the televising of the two Limerick/Tipperary replays in the hurling championship. And he ‘regretted’ having to say that this wasn’t an RTÉ matter but Croke Park policy!

Kerry Secretary Eamonn O’Sullivan complained about the changing of the dates for the Munster final, All-Ireland semi-final and final dates of the colleges competitions ‘at short notice.’

He pointed out that the changes would impact severely on the preparation of their county minor teams and on fixture plans they had spent weeks working on.

Convention elected two new officers Jim Forbes from Cork and Tipperary’s Michael Power. Both were unopposed in the respective elections for PRO and Treasurer, in succession to Ger Hickey and Willie O’Connor — who will be continuing as a Kerry delegate.

Forbes is a former Chairman of the Cork County Board and also served as PRO for three years. Power, a delegate to the Council and a former Secretary of the Tipperary Football Board, was an unsuccessful candidate six years ago.

Officers: President — Liam McInerney; Chairman — J O’Gorman; Vice-Chairman — S Walsh; Treasurer — M Power; PRO — J Forbes.

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