Promotion push costs Limerick

Limerick GAA chairman Oliver Mann has suggested that too much emphasis is being placed on securing promotion from Division 1B of the hurling league.

Limerick’s four-point defeat to Clare in the Division 1B playoff last March condemned the Treaty hurlers to a seventh successive season in the league’s second tier, with county board treasurer Donal Morrissey informing delegates at last night’s convention that Limerick’s absence from Division 1A is depriving their coffers of roughly €100,000 per annum.

During his chairman’s address, Mann questioned whether the hurlers’ failure to garner league promotion had a direct impact on a below-par championship which ended at the second round of qualifiers.

“Our hurlers were once again pipped at the post for promotion to Division 1A. This defeat seemed to leave its mark on the team for the remainder of the year,” Mann said.

“Did we place too much emphasis on promotion and never really recover from the disappointment of the defeat to Clare in Ennis.”

The chairman also called for an increase in the number of high profile games awarded to the Gaelic Grounds.

County board secretary Mike O’Riordan lamented what was a poor season for Limerick. For the first time since 2012, not a single piece of provincial or All-Ireland silverware was annexed.

“It was a disappointing season on both the hurling and football fronts. The senior footballers were relegated to Division 4, the hurlers failed to get out of Division 1B and didn’t qualify for the All-Ireland SHC quarter-finals,” he said.

The senior hurlers’ Munster championship campaign was cut short by Tipperary at the semi-final stage, with O’Riordan commenting that the 3-12 to 1-16 scoreline “somewhat camouflaged the gulf in class between the sides.”

He added: “I would like to thank TJ Ryan and his management team for their efforts over the past three seasons. There was much anticipation after his first season following a narrow loss to Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final, but unfortunately, things didn’t progress after that.”

O’Riordan outlined how the board executive are exploring the possibility of utilising the playing pitches of the former St Enda’s Community school on the Kilmallock Road.

The secondary school closed its doors in 2015 and is currently being used as the base of the Limerick and Clare education and training board (LCETB).

“Over the past 18 months, we have been in discussions with the LCETB regarding the possibility of utilising the pitches of the former St Enda’s Community School site. This will be thoroughly outlined early in the New Year.”

He also stressed the importance of completing the development of Mick Neville Park at Rathkeale by the end of 2017. Just shy of €800k has been secured for this project, a further €300k is required.

Income for the year reached €1.87m, almost €256,000 down on the year previous. The board recorded an operating surplus of €13,684 for 2016. Team expenses, which were a major bone of contention after exceeding €1m in 2015, were somewhat curtailed, totalling €890,532 for the 2016 season.

“The finance of the board is still in a precarious position,” warned O’Riordan.

A Bruff motion recommending that club players be allowed play more than one game at senior level before being deemed ineligible for lower grades if the senior club hurling or football championship in question is run on a league basis was passed.

Donal Morrissey was nominated for the position of Munster Council treasurer, which will be filled next month.

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