The chairman and the secretary of the Kerry Ladies Football executive resigned yesterday after the controversial decision to terminate the contract of minor manager Jonathan Griffin.
Chairman Mike Moriarty and secretary Maurice Dunworth, both from Ballyduff GAA club, stepped down on the day of the ladies minor football team’s Munster Championship opener against Tipperary, which they won 3-13 to 3-5.
“I just wasn’t able to carry out the role I was asked to carry out,” said Dunworth of his resignation. “Instead of dealing with football, I’m dealing with solicitors and barristers.”
Griffin took charge of the team, having lodged an appeal on Wednesday to the decision to remove him. He was informed of that decision by email. He said he’d yet to hear any reply from Dunworth with details of an appeal date by the time of the secretary’s resignation.
The appeal is based on the grounds that the decision to remove Griffin was taken by the executive, rather than at a full county board meeting. Griffin’s original appointment was previously ratified by such a board meeting.
“I had a cheque of €100 that I had to go and find an executive member to lodge that money within a certain timeframe (for the appeal), I’ve that done,” said Griffin.
Munster LGFA registrar and Kerry LGFA executive member Mary Courtney, who has helped Griffin with fundraising for the team in his year to date in charge, said she was not informed of the meeting at which the decision to remove Griffin was taken.
She said the rest of the executive hasn’t acknowledged her position on the board since their appointment in January. That position is automatic due to her role on the Munster board.
She was further unavailable for the executive meeting at which the decision was taken due to a family bereavement. She added that she knows of at least two other committee members who were absent.
“They didn’t have the authority to do that anyway,” said Courtney of the decision to remove Griffin.
“I’m part of that executive, I wasn’t informed of that meeting, I wouldn’t have supported that.”
A stand-off occurred before minor training last Wednesday when Dunworth, assistant secretary Donal Rahilly, and another committee member, approached Griffin and asked him to leave the field due to his contract being terminated.
They said Kerry ladies senior manager Graham Shine would take over.
“I’ve never seen any of the three of them before,” said Griffin, who insisted that he had lodged an appeal, refused to leave the field and subsequently took training that night and on Friday, before yesterday’s victory.
The executive was appointed at a reconvened EGM last month, the third attempt to appoint an executive.
There were signs of the disarray of Kerry ladies football in many aspects surrounding yesterday’s game. Due to a venue mix-up, the pitch at Brosna was unavailable for 2pm due to a prior match scheduled for 12 noon. With Tipperary unwilling to change the time, Kerry were grateful to Firies for making their pitch available in a move announced at 1.26am on the Munster LGFA Twitter page.
Confusingly for latecomers unaware of the venue change, Kerry appeared as ‘Away’ on the scoreboard, while the Kerry half of the programme was blank, bar listing their “green and gold” colours, due to no team being submitted before the print deadline.
“These girls have gone through a week where they’ve mock exams, all the pressure of what was going on in the politics outside of it, and we’re trying to freeze it out from them,” said Griffin.
“With the week that was in it, it was very stressful for them, for the management team, for their parents. A lot of a circus of a sideshow was going on and we tried to concentrate on football.
“The girls wanted to put in a performance, they spoke about it in the dressing room for five to 10 minutes on Friday night. They really fought for each other, they consider themselves a family and they showed it today.”
The same week as she signed for Cork City Women’s FC, Hannah O’Donoghue was the star for Kerry. She kicked 3-6, including a sensational game-clinching, 49th-minute goal where she palmed a long ball over the head of her marker, before gathering to chip the advancing ‘keeper.
That came just after Tipperary goals from Angela McGuigan and Anna Rose Kennedy to close to a three-point gap, followed by a straight red card for Kerry defender Sophie Lynch.
However, led by captain Ciara Murphy and thanks to a Sinead Warren penalty save, Kerry held out against a side featuring former Tipperary and Laois senior manager Peter Creedon on the sideline.
Kerry 3-13 Tipperary 3-5
Scorers for Kerry: H O’Donoghue (3-6); A O’Callaghan (2 frees), N Ní Chonchúir (0-3 each); K Buckley (0-1).
Scorers for Tipperary: A McGuigan (1-2, 1 free); A Carey (1-1); AR Kennedy (1-0); A Delaney, M O’Connell (0-1 each).
KERRY: S Warren; M Lehane, C Murphy, K Maher; S Lynch, K O’Connor, A O’Reilly; T Breen, K Buckley; H O’Donoghue, B Ryan, C O’Brien; A O’Callaghan, A Clifford, N Ní Chonchúir.
Subs: K Long for K Maher (ht), C Evans for Ní Chonchúir (55), E McGlynn for O’Callaghan (63), K Palmer for Murphy (66).
TIPPERARY: M Lloyd; N Martin, L Spillane, E Cronin; A Fennessy, R O’Donnell, A Carey; R Daly, A Fitzgerald; A Delaney, O Winston, E Morrissey; M O’Connell, AR Kennedy, A McGuigan.
Subs: K Cunningham for Delaney (ht), M Creedon for O’Connell (48), J Irwin for Morrissey (55)
Referee: AJ Cronin (Cork).
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