Trouble brewing in Kildare as county board election battle turns sour

Kildare’s chairmanship battle at Saturday’s AGM is shaping up to be one of the ugliest county board elections of recent times.
Trouble brewing in Kildare as county board election battle turns sour

After just one year in the position, Ger Donnelly is being challenged by Dermot Reilly, the former vice-chairman of the county’s supporters group.

As part of Reilly’s ticket, outgoing Kildare senior football selector Morgan O’Callaghan is contesting incumbent Mick Gorman for the role of vice-chairman.

Reilly and O’Callaghan appeared on KFM Radio last Sunday but Donnelly and Gorman chose not to take up the invitation to debate. Instead, they issued a statement to be read out on the programme.

They did so in the wake of interviews Reilly has given to a number of local media outlets in which he has been extremely critical of the county board.

On Sunday, Carbury man Reilly raised questions about a number of matters such as St Conleth’s Park, the county board’s accounts, jersey suppliers, sports capital grants and a testimonial match to honour past players.

On Monday morning, a letter signed by county secretary Kathleen O’Neill on behalf of Kildare’s management committee was sent to clubs disputing remarks made by Reilly.

They contest assertions that nothing has been done to develop Kildare’s principal grounds in Newbridge and about the state of the board’s financial affairs.

Gorman had previously sent a letter to the clubs in which he claims Reilly was part of a Club Kildare executive “which was not working with the county board” at a time when the county had to be bailed out by Croke Park.

It is stated the board and Club Kildare have “a much better working relationship” since the change of leadership in the supporter group.

A partner at PriceWaterhouseCooper, former Kildare footballer Reilly has been critical of the board for several years.

In a piece in the Leinster Express last month, Reilly accused the board executive of exhibiting “an attitude of second-ratism, an inferiority complex, which has led us to win exactly three Leinster Championships since 1935. We have won three Leinster football championships since 1935! That is disgraceful. And if we don’t change how we do our business, on and off the field, and have a change in attitude, we can look forward to winning three more Leinster championships in the next 80 years.”

During his time with Club Kildare, Reilly was integral to significant fundraising initiatives and helped secure the county’s current Brady Ham deal.

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