The GAA’s response to the tragic events of St Patrick’s Day 2019, when three young people — Morgan Barnard, Lauren Bullock and Connor Currie — lost their lives in a crush outside a Cookstown hotel, was tonight hailed by Tyrone County Board chairman Michael Kerr.
He revealed that individuals and groups from the Association wasted no time in providing support for the bereaved families. Kerr hailed the GAA’s reaction to the tragedy at tonight’s annual county convention.
“On the 17th March our community suffered a devastating blow with the loss of three young lives in Cookstown,” he said.
“I want to thank all those at club and county level, especially our own Health and Wellbeing Committee who, on behalf of the GAA, offered their services for the good of the community.
“While other statutory authorities talked about what they were going to do, the GAA mobilised and were on the ground working within 12 hours. The manner in which you delivered prompt and professional help to those affected was a proud moment for any GAA person.
Those impacted and affected will be forever in your debt. I thank you on everyone’s behalf.
The Carrickmore clubman, who was re-elected for a third term, also hit out at the ‘farcical’ ban on players representing their county at U20 level until after their college or university has completed its competitive schedule.
He accused the GAA of placing obstacles in the way of young players fulfilling their dream of representing their county.
Expressing the hope that a satisfactory club fixtures plan can be provided as part of the national calendar, he said: “In 2019 the Inter-county U20 season reverted to a midsummer competition which had a massive impact on club fixtures.
“Thankfully common sense has prevailed and the U20s will complete their championship between 15th February and 28th March 2020,” he told delegates.
“I’m aware that this impacts detrimentally on the third level and second level education sector, but the recent Central Council decision to bar players from playing for their county U20’s until their college or university competition is complete, beggars belief.
“Surely players aspire to play at the highest level they can, which is inter-county, and putting such an obstacle in their way is farcical.”