Secretary JOnathan Cullen reports to Convention on Friday evening next in Boherlahan.
This is the Secreray’s final report to Convention as he is required to stand down on Friday evening in Boherlahan, under the five year officer rule and is expected to be succeeded by Drom-Inch’s Sally Young. Also stepping down from the role of Chairman is Boherlahan Dualla man John Devane who is nominated for the position of Vice Chairman of the County Board. Only one nomination exists for the position of Chairman - Moyne Templetuohy man Joe Kennedy.
Jonathon Cullen’s reports to delegates have been renowned for their detail and this latest effort is no different. And, in the report he raises some interesting observations, including his thoughts regarding fixtures.
He writes, “By the time all our competitions are completed for 2014 there will have been 178 games played. This is a drop of ten games from 2013 and a drop of sixty seven games from 2012. The drop in the number of games can be attributed to a number of factors, such as the new championship structures which have been introduced at county level. The format for our county senior hurling and football championships has meant a lot less games at Divisional level but an increase at county level.
“ I am on record as saying that 2014 would be the most difficult year of all time to get games played and this has most definitely been the case. It is in my view totally wrong to be still playing Senior Football in December and it is also wrong that clubs have to play hurling and football championships weekend after weekend at the back end of the year. At the end of the day it is the clubs of the county who have the power to make changes to our competitions and unless practical championship structures are put in place it is the clubs and club players who are going to suffer,” he said.
The Secretary also stated that the powers than be need to have a very serious look at the amount of free time given to county teams in the run up to big games.
“ Surely seven days is enough for anyone to prepare themselves for inter county action. Inter county management cannot continue to interfere with county and divisional championships as has been the norm in the past. It amazes me how it is ok for players to play three games in ten days when inter county action is over, but it is necessary to have three free weeks between inter county games as happened this year between the All Ireland Final draw and replay. I also am of the opinion that inter county players should and must be allowed back to train with their clubs on a more regular basis. After all how many times are we told at conventions, seminars and congress that our clubs are the foundation of the association. I often wondered if the people saying this really mean what they say and to be honest I am doubtful,” he says.
Jonathan Cullen also launches a broadside at the FRC - a committee set up as a ‘brainwave’ of someone in the GAA to produce a report, according to the Secretary.
“This report has some good findings but also makes some far-fetched and ambitious proposals, none more so than the proposal to have the All Ireland club championships completed by the end of December. If this proposal is adopted at the upcoming congress, with the current championship structures in Tipperary, there will be no teams from the county progressing to provincial competitions. They also propose that the National CCCC should have overall responsibility for coordinating fixtures at club level. To me this is total madness and totally unworkable. In Mid Tipperary we have the most democratic CCC in the county as every club is represented and have an input in to all fixtures. This system works and works very well. I cannot remember very many occasions since I have been a member of Mid CCC that clubs did not reach agreement on playing games on the suggested dates and if there were problems, both club representatives resolved them between them quickly. The Mid Division have time and time again been ready for county deadlines well before other divisions who only have a select few on their CCC. Any attempt by National CCCC or units closer to home to take away the decision on when, where and how our divisional championships are run, should be vehemently opposed because if the democratic rite of each club to have a representative on our Divisional CCC is taken away it will only lead to total confusion and annoyance in relation to fixtures,” he said.