Counties told ‘police’ rules on GAA club facilities use

THE GAA is determined to clamp down on breaches of rule regarding the use of facilities by other sporting bodies, in a clear response to the controversy sparked by the use of Nemo Rangers’ indoor training centre by the Irish rugby squad earlier in the year.

County committees in future must ‘police’ the relevant rule in regard to the use of club playing and ancillary facilities, with the clear message that they are not to be used by sporting bodies ‘in conflict’ with the aims and objectives of the Association.

Central Council policy on the matter was outlined at last night’s meeting of the Cork County Board at Pairc Uí Chaoimh after the matter was raised by Bride Rovers delegate John Arnold.

Arising from the distribution of a printed report of the last meeting of the Council on August 7, he questioned the meaning of the word ‘ancillary’ facilities (the summary also cited ‘full size outdoor playing facilities’). Chairman Jerry O’Sullivan quoted from the rule specifying that club facilities should only be used for the purposes intended in rule – in other words they should not be used by other sporting associations ‘for games or training.’

The chairman agreed with Arnold’s interpretation that there would be ‘no problem’ in allowing athletics groups to use their faculties, saying that they are, after all, a community-based organisation. At the same time, he cautioned that any such groupings should have insurance indemnity on such occasions.

Two other items included in the summarised report were raised, one in regard to the inclusion of an under-21 representative in county delegations to Congress. The recommendation is that the practice should be ‘optional, rather than compulsory,’ with the chairman agreeing that while Cork youth delegates always benefited from their attendance, a lot of counties didn’t bother sending them. More pertinently, there was opposition to any consideration being given to reducing the actual size of delegations, with former chairman Tony O’Mahony saying that some counties with less than 50 clubs could have the same representation as Cork.

County secretary Frank Murphy said that one British county with a mere five clubs affiliated was entitled to send four delegates to Congress.

It was also reported that the GPA have been asked to ‘ensure compliance’ with the correct running of summer training camps. It was pointed out that concern had been expressed that members of inter-county panels may have been engaged in running ‘private’ ventures.

Meanwhile, the chairman made it clear that he was not prepared to entertain any proposal to reduce the € 10,000 fines imposed on the Bride Rovers and Glen Rovers clubs following the investigation into incidents which took place late in the first half of their recent senior hurling championship game.

The matter was raised by Dripsey delegate Tomas Ryan, who commented that they amounted to ‘professional fines’ on amateur clubs. The bottom line was that it was ‘the players’ and not the clubs which were involved and it would be a severe imposition on hard-working club officers in raising the money.

Emphasising that it was ‘a man’s game,’ he posed the question, “how many Cork backs had received yellow cards’ in the All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny.”

Mr. O’Sullivan’s response was that ‘a strong message’ had been sent out that the County Board was not prepared to tolerate scenes witnessed in the game. The action taken against the clubs reflected ‘the seriousness that it deserved.’

Praising the clubs for ‘putting their hands up,’ he reminded delegates that clubs had accepted the fines. And, he had no doubt they were prepared to ‘suffer’ them rather than ‘being thrown out’ of the championship.

The chairman expressed the view that there was little justification for the depth of ‘doom and gloom’ following Cork hurlers’ defeat at the hands of Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final. Acknowledging that there ‘was no question’ that their team had been ‘well beaten,’ Mr. O’Sullivan remarked that the negative reaction had been ‘over-the-top.’

“Everybody was very disappointed by the outcome of the game,’’ adding that they were unfortunate “to meet a team, the likes of which has never been seen and may never again be seen”.

Cork senior player Aidan Walsh was given permission to play with Duhallow, having been unfit to line out with CIT in the championship (even though it was pointed out that he had been ‘togged out’ and named in the match programme). Additionally, Peter Daly was given clearance to play with Carbery.

Standing orders were suspended to enable the chairman to move a vote of sympathy to two members of the Cloyne club, including their newly appointed junior football delegate Derry Falvey, who died on Sunday morning. He was also the club PRO, father of the chairman and published the Cloyne history earlier in the year, said Mr. O’Sullivan.

Sympathy was also extended to the family of Tommy Canavan, who won All-Ireland minor hurling medals with Cork in 1970 and ’71, and also represented the county at under-21 level and refereed with distinction both at divisional and county board level.


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