GAA President Christy Cooney’s personal highlight of the Association’s year-long 125 celebrations was the May 10 ‘Lá na gClub’ promotion, which was designated as a day free of fixtures.
It had been ‘a massive thrill’, to visit a number of clubs that day, which had been celebrated with passion, style and vigour, he told guests at the 96/103FM Sports Star awards presentation in the Rochestown Park Hotel, where he was the guest of honour.
Other than making a robust defence of the proposed agreement with the GPA (which must first be approved by Central Council and then endorsed at next year’s Congress), Cooney spoke optimistically about the future well-being of the GAA, pointing to the significance of the Association’s ‘Strategic Vision and Action Plan’ in setting out their ‘road map’ for the next six years.
The work to be carried out at all levels, will be crucial, he said, adding that he was confident it would leave the Association on a firm footing for many years to come.
Wearing his Cork hat and as a former chairman of the Youghal club, Cooney said it was gratifying to see Cork playing its part, adding that it had been ‘refreshing’ to attend the club forum last weekend.
“The unveiling of the Cork forum and Cork’s development of their own strategy can see the county move forward together, allowing them to get to where they want to go.
And, he had a message for the membership in Cork, saying ‘it was about time’ that they moved forward on a united front. “Less of the division … let us all move forward together,’’ he stated. “That’s very important for our Association.’’
Cooney said he was both ‘pleased and excited’ by the potential to upgrade facilities around the country, through the provision of funds generated by the staging of rugby and soccer in Croke Park. This process is now ‘well under way,’ he added.
Again referring to the 125 celebrations, he said that if he was to take one message from the year it would be a greater appreciation of the role of the volunteers in ‘making things happen.’
“I have been genuinely bowled over by the level of activity that is taking place in our clubs the length and breadth of the country and indeed in our overseas units,’’ he said.
“The roll out of the ‘Ag Éisteacht’ programme announced at Congress means that myself and Director-General Páraic Duffy have between us visited 20 clubs and have heard firsthand the problems and challenges clubs face. Equally, we witnessed at close quarters the excellent work being undertaken.’’
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved