Durack: Act on cash for coaches

THE GAA has to address the issue of people being paid to manage club teams, former Clare goalkeeper Seamus Durack warned at the Bord Gais Energy-sponsored Munster GAA awards presentation on Saturday night.

He told guests in Lawlor’s Hotel, Dungarvan that up to 30 coaches were involved with teams in the Banner and were being paid up to €150 a night for a session.

Durack, who was presented with the Hall of Fame award for hurling, said that in the past year, he had up to eight approaches from clubs interested in his services, saying: “The second question they will ask is, ‘how much do you charge?’”

At a more general level, Durack expressed the view that if (inter-county) managers were being paid a salary, they ‘were entitled’ to a contract. Referring to player disputes in Limerick, Clare and Cork as “farcical”, he said it was unfair what had been happening to “solid GAA people who meant well”.

Durack also called for a change of philosophy in regard to coaching football, saying that the rules should be amended to give the “high catchers” every possible advantage.

Twenty awards were presented – all of them individuals except for the ‘club of the year’ category. This went to Cratloe from Clare, who won the county senior hurling and intermediate football championship titles this year.

Former Kerry star John O’Keeffe was the winner of the Hall of Fame award in football. He was already an established player by the time the great Kerry team made the breakthrough in 1975. Winner of seven All-Ireland medals, he managed both Limerick and Clare and was coach to the Irish International Rules squad.

Durack was a member of the Banner team which won twin NHL titles in 1977 and ‘78 (under the managership of Justin McCarthy) and picked up three All Star awards.

With Tipperary’s Liam Sheedy a popular winner of the ‘manager of the year’ accolade, the principal player awards went to the team’s goalkeeper Brendan Cummins and Cork footballer Pearse O’Neill.

Another goalkeeper – Cork’s Aoife Murray – won the Camogie award while Norita Kelly was the winner in the Ladies Football category.

The Council also honoured long-serving Cork County Board secretary Frank Murphy, who has been to the forefront of administrative affairs in the county for more than four decades after having been appointed one of the first full-time secretaries in the GAA in December 1972.

Over the years he filled a succession of key roles in the Association at national level, including chairman of the Games Administration Committee and, more recently the Rules Revision Committee. And, he also achieved distinction as a referee, handling the All-Ireland finals of 1971 and 1981, as well as six National League finals (between 1971 and 1986) and 10 Cork SHC finals.

A member of the Munster Council since 1976 (and bowing out this year because of the ‘five-year’ rule), he had the distinction of being a selector with 19 All-Ireland winning Cork teams. And during his time in charge, the Rebel County accumulated 62 All-Ireland and 117 Munster titles in all grades of hurling and football.

Interviewed by master of ceremonies Marty Morrissey, he said that any All-Ireland won by Cork was “a high”.

Asked about the ‘lows,’ he responded: “I think they are fairly well documented.’’

Award winners: Senior Hurling: B. Cummins (Tipperary); Senior Football: P. O’Neill (Cork); Intermediate Hurling: L. Desmond (Cork); Junior Football: Aidan Walsh Cork; U21 Hurling: D. Honan (Clare); U21 Football: Colm O’Neill (Cork); Minor Hurling: M. O’Neill (Waterford); Minor Football: P. Galvin (Kerry); Ladies Football: N. Kelly (Cork); Camogie: A. Murray (Cork); Handball: S. Hedigan (Cork).

Media Award: J. O’Sullivan (Irish Examiner); Service to Refereeing: J.J. Landers (Waterford); Service in Education: D. Ring (Blackwater Community School); Manager of the Year: L. Sheedy (Tipperary); Club of the Year:Cratloe (Clare); Distinguished Service to the GAA: F. Murphy (Cork); Special Merit Award: T. McGarry (Limerick).

Hall of Fame, Hurling:S. Durack (Clare); Hall of Fame, Football: J. O’Keeffe (Kerry).

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