There was a changing of the guard at the Kerry GAA Convention in Tralee last night, with Tim Murphy (Brosna) assuming the chair as Patrick O’Sullivan completed his five-year term.
In a night of little excitement, with no elections and only two motions, O’Sullivan covered a wide range of topics in his address, but got the biggest reaction from the floor when he expressed anger at the “heavy scouting of our top minor players“ and insisted the GAA will have to take action to counteract the threat.
“I have expressed very strong views in a recent interview in on the heavy scouting by the AFL of our top minor players and it was not, I assure you, a biased rant just because it’s Kerry players that are their top targets this year,” O’Sullivan said.
“The GAA, and that includes Kerry GAA and the GPA, should be doing more to persuade Gaelic games’ best players to remain in the country, give them scholarships and ensure they want for nothing when it comes to third level education. The problem is it’s too easy to come in and take a player and it’s too easy to send back a player crocked.”
O’Sullivan continued: “If the GPA came together with the GAA and county boards on that, it could be a real force against what’s happening at the moment. I would also support a mentoring programme as an integral part of the work done with development squads. There is a wealth of expertise within the GAA in Kerry, GAA supporters who will be only too delighted to provide our players with impartial advice on careers and business opportunities that will enable these players to arrive at an informed decision on their futures.“
Treasurer Dermot Lynch stressed it had been a challenging year for the board, compared to the previous two, with no senior final appearance. The financial statements for 2016 showed an overall profit of €494,000, achieved with income of €409,000 from international fundraising, €49,000 from Cairde Chiarraí, and €46,000 from Austin Stack Park fundraising. The board made a small operating loss of €10,000 on its day-to-day operations.
Lynch said: “To keep Kerry teams successful, huge effort is required from players and management alike who in turn demand more resources resulting in additional costs to the board reflected in our team expenses, especially in the area of player welfare and medical expenses.”
Lynch announced the arrival of Alliance Medical as an associate sponsor of Kerry GAA for the next three years.
“The cost of providing the best medical care to Kerry teams has now reached almost €200k per annum. While this is a concern to the board, Kerry GAA will never be found wanting when it comes to the welfare of its players.”
In other business, two officers were elected without a vote, coaching officer Eamon Whelan moving up to development officer, while Terrence Houlihan (Laune Rangers) replaces Whelan as coaching officer.
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