Clare GAA chiefs initially appointed a three-man committee to select 10 Clare clubs, from the 24 who were eligible, to receive the grant but unable to make a decision they stepped aside.
Clare then appealed to Croke Park for assistance and Cooney selected Croke Park stadium manager Peter McKenna and Derry county board chairman Seamus McCloy to pick the 10 successful clubs. Despite meeting the criteria of having spent in excess of €100,000 and being on course to complete their work by December 31 this year, Kilmaley failed to receive a grant and have already written to the GAA President in an effort to discover why their application failed.
The club have spent €600,000 to date in developing two playing fields, dressing-rooms, a jogging track and a gymnasium. Former Clare All-Ireland senior hurling winner and current Kilmaley club chairman Conor Clancy expressed his anger at the process employed to distribute the grants.
“The club was confident that it had an extremely persuasive case to make to the adjudicators when the opportunity presented itself,” Clancy told The Clare Champion.
“It is an understatement to report that everybody working in the club is outraged and that the decisions appear to have been made on the basis of the papers handed over by the county sub-committee, without any further investigation by the adjudicators.”
Gerry O’Malley, secretary of the Kilmaley field development committee, believes Cooney is obliged to give the club a hearing and revealed if the club do not receive a reply, they will be seeking to meet the GAA President during this year’s Féile na nGael which is being held in Clare.
“One would expect that, as President of the GAA, he would be mindful of the basic unit of the organisation, which is the club.”