OFFALY GAA chiefs have rejected claims that they withdrew funding from Birr Community School, thus preventing the fabled Offaly nursery from sending a team to compete in a prestigious underage hurling tournament.
Former county star Daithí Regan made the claim this week during a hard-hitting interview about the problems facing hurling nationwide.
However Offaly chairman, Pat Teehan last night dismissed Regan’s claims and pointed out his board had not been responsible for providing the finance to facilitate participation in the tournament in the first place.
They will be coming to Birr’s rescue though, now that Irish Sports Council (ISC) funding has been frozen by the Minister for Sport Martin Cullen.
“The tournament was initiated by the Leinster Council initially and was funded under the National Sports Council Fund, which has been cut since for whatever reason; it was not funded by county boards” explained Teehan. “It came about as a result of an initiative set up by Noel Delaney of the Leinster Council a good few years ago, where strong counties were twinned with developing counties.
“Offaly were twinned with Westmeath and a tournament was put in place for first year students to promote hurling.
“Because Birr and Banagher were considered too strong for that competition they were left out and another tournament was set up with Gort and Loughrea taking part.
“It didn’t take place in 2008 but we would hope to get it back in place for this season.
“I was talking to Birr Community School earlier this year and I told them that we will put the means in place to put them back in the tournament. It was never a case of the county board cutting any funding, because it wasn’t the board that had been providing the funding in the first place.’’
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