Two Galway club teams bet on themselves ahead of crucial fixtures in 2016, outgoing county board chairman Noel Treacy alleged last night.
In his final address as chairman, Treacy told delegates that the action of these two clubs, whom he did not name, went against everything the GAA stands for. He also highlighted an increase in the number of players who confided in top-table officials their “serious gambling addiction problems” and called on the Government to proceed with the “long-awaited” Gambling Control Bill.
“During the past year, at least two of our club teams arranged individual and group bets on crucial games,” Treacy revealed.
“On one instance, they lost both the game and their money. In another instance, the betting team won the game and I presume their bets also. This is an antithesis to everything that we stand for as an association. During the past year, I have raised this crisis issue at the highest levels.
“Gambling addiction is a bottomless pit and causes personal, business, family, financial, mental and other unforeseen problems, which cannot be understated.
“I expect that both our national management committee, through Central Council, will make recommendations to Congress in going some distance to eliminate this sporting scourge within our association. Likewise, I expect our Government to proceed with the long-awaited ‘Gambling Control Bill’ in the year ahead.”
Treacy stated that one of the most frustrating periods during his five-year tenure was the “unnecessary upheaval” by the senior hurlers in October 2015, which led to the forced resignation of then manager Anthony Cunningham. Treacy claimed the county lost national and international support officers as a result of the players’ actions.
“We have spent the past year trying to re-establish our dual games and support systems. In any critique of Galway GAA over the past three decades, it is clearly obvious that we have torpedoed county team managers, both too often and too early. When sudden and unexpected management changes are sprung on an unsuspecting GAA public, it erodes confidence, creates both confusion and doubt in the wider base required to achieve ultimate success. The time has come for a much more mature and positive attitude to the tasks and measures required for success at flagship levels.”
The Liam Mellows motion which called for Galway’s senior, intermediate, U21 and minor hurling teams to compete in a single provincial model and to empower the county to make an approach to Munster about their inter-county teams taking part in the Munster championships from 2018 forward had not been voted on at the time of going to print.
Income for year ending, October 31, came in at €3.4m, with Galway GAA recording an operating surplus of €79,421. The cost of running the various county teams rose to €1,362,093, an increase of €117,000 on the 2015 figure. €486,415 was spent on the senior footballers, while senior hurling expenses totalled €426,397.
With annual loan repayments on the derelict Mountain South site and other grounds totalling €270,927, delegates queried whether the board would be able to meet these repayments when the annual loan repayment on Mountain South jumped to €324,000 in 2018.
Treasurer John McGann said there are plans, in conjunction with a local company, to stage a concert in Pearse Stadium with a “big American artist” which would bring money into the county coffers.
Meanwhile, Roscommon secretary Brian Carroll says the county must “move forward as one united force” in 2017 after the fallout that saw joint football manager Fergal O’Donnell resign in September. Selectors David Casey and Stephen Bohan also quit their respective posts.
Carroll, in his report to convention, described this as a “very difficult time for Roscommon GAA”.
“What happened has been written about and I don’t intend bringing up the past. What I will say is Fergal O Donnell has been a great servant to Roscommon GAA for a number of years. I would appeal to every single Roscommon supporter we have to please get behind the management and team in 2017. We have to move forward in a united fashion if we are to succeed on the field.”
Carroll is confident the redevelopment of Hyde Park will ensure home games are no longer lost because of an unsuitable playing surface — Roscommon’s Division 1 league games against Down and Dublin were played at Pearse Park in Longford and Carrick-on-Shannon.
“To think that our senior football team played eight league matches in 2016 and didn’t play two games at the same pitch was very disappointing. When the Down game was switched on the Friday, we were criticised for switching too early. When the Dublin game was switched on the Sunday morning, we were criticised for not switching it earlier. It was certainly a case of dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved