Eugene Ryan: ‘Many of our clubs seem to have lost interest in football’

In a wide-ranging report to next Monday evening’s (December 2nd) Annual General meeting of Coiste Thiobraid Árann Thuaidh secretary Eugene Ryan has questioned the commitment of North Tipperary GAA clubs to Gaelic football.

In a wide-ranging report to next Monday evening’s (December 2nd) Annual General meeting of Coiste Thiobraid Árann Thuaidh secretary Eugene Ryan has questioned the commitment of North Tipperary GAA clubs to Gaelic football.

In his report Eugene Ryan points out that “football remains very much the second game for most of our clubs”. The North Board secretary highlights Thomas MacDonagh’s “gallant fight” in the county championship, but also indicates that the team “were deprived of the services of a number of players because of hurling commitments” while Fr John Kenyons “failed to field” a team in the county championship “despite a number of attempts to accommodate them with fixtures”.

“Many of our clubs seem to have lost interest in football,” Eugene Ryan reports before revealing that just two clubs entered the intermediate football championship and only five participated at the junior grade.

Ryan suggests that delaying the football championships until the hurling championships were completed might encourage more clubs to participate in divisional competitions, but a side effect of same would force the North Board to nominate teams for the respective county championships.

Next Monday night’s AGM will be hosted by the Ballinahinch club in Killoscully Hall (8pm - mass in Killoscully Church for deceased members at 7pm).

No elections will take place with the North Board being returned en masse including chairman John ‘Rocky’ McGrath (Ballinahinch), vice-chairman Dan Kennedy (Toomevara), secretary Eugene Ryan (Moneygall), assistant-secretary Gerard McKeogh (Ballina), treasurer Willie Lennox (Shannon Rovers), assistant-treasurer Catherine Gleeson (Kildangan) & PRO Liam Hogan (Shannon Rovers).

Two motions will be discussed at the AGM - Shannon Rovers have tabled both motions: that ‘linesmen are dressed in distinguishable attire’ and that ‘all football matches at adult level to be completed up to at least quarter-final stage by 31st March’.

In his convention report Eugene Ryan takes time to highlight the achievements of Ballina in winning the divisional and county intermediate hurling titles for the first time. The North Board secretary also highlights Kildangan’s win in the divisional senior final and Nenagh Éire Óg’s seventh divisional minor title in-a-row.

Eugene Ryan compliments Ballina, Portroe, Silvermines and Newport “who fulfilled important fixtures on the weekend of the weddings of players or members of a player’s family”. “This,” reports Eugene Ryan, “is an example to all our clubs of the cooperation required to complete our fixtures programme”. Eugene Ryan also felt it necessary to point out that “we also had a number of examples of clubs asking for free time to accommodate stag parties, 21st birthdays and other social events”.

The North Board secretary paid tribute to the Competitions Control Committee who met on thirty-six occasions during the year. The CCC comprises: John McGrath, Dan Kennedy, Eugene Ryan, Willie Lennox, Marian Minehan, Martin Healy, Anne Hickey, Noel Carey and John Gleeson while PRO Liam Hogan also attended these vital meetings in a non-voting capacity.

Eugene Ryan thanks the clubs of North Tipperary for efforts made to comply with recommendations concerning the presentation of games and called for proper respect of referees. “We must all show proper respect to all our games officials,” insists Eugene Ryan.

In his report Eugene Ryan encourages the clubs of north Tipperary to complete their five-year plans while he also takes some time to thank divisional competition sponsors The Hibernian Inn, Denis’s Meats, the Watch Centre, Walsh’s of Nenagh and Ger Gavin for their contribution.

The contribution of the Carroll family (Burgess) is also marked. The Carroll family donated a trophy to the North Board this year in memory of the late Denis Carroll. The trophy was presented for the first time when Eoin Fitzgibbon collected the junior A league trophy on behalf of Nenagh Éire Óg following their final win over Borris-Ileigh at Dolla.