Football Convention - Gap in club and county must close

The Chairman of the Tipperary Football Board has backed comments by County Board Chairman Sean Nugent, that the gap in standard between club and inter-county football must close if there is to be progress.

The Chairman of the Tipperary Football Board has backed comments by County Board Chairman Sean Nugent, that the gap in standard between club and inter-county football must close if there is to be progress.

In a wide ranging address to Convention in the Anner Hotel on Wednesday evening last, Joe Hannigan, who has completed one year in his term of office, said that though 2013 did not result in the sideboards being weighed down with silverware in Tipperary, there is nonetheless a real feeling of optimism as they face into the new season.

“I feel that we can look ahead with great optimism. We have great Coaches and management teams in place at all levels and thanks to the work of the development squads over the last six years or so, we also have the players coming through,” Joe Hannigan said.

The Shannon Rovers man, however, added his voice to a call from Sean Nugent to try and improve the standard of club football and to have more people attending the games. And, Joe Hannigan offered the view that the gap is being closed between club and inter county fare. However there is more work to be done.

“I feel that if we can have a situation in Tipperary where we have about 20 clubs being very competitive, we will have a great club championship and this will benefit the county team as well. We have been very competitive in all grades at county level and I am looking forward to us continuing to be competitive,” he said.

In congratulating Loughmore Castleiney on their unique achievement of winning an historic first double of county titles, Joe Hannigan said that their victory in the football final proved that the games can exist side-by-side and he encouraged other clubs to take up the challenge of doing likewise.

County Board Chairman Sean Nugent told delegates that the target for Tipperary must be to win a Munster senior football title, before any talk of All-Ireland’s could be entertained.

“That would be major breakthrough as far as I would be concerned and I think that if we were to win a Munster title, we could then go forward and recognise that we would be as good as any team in the country,” Sean Nugent said.

Looking forward to 2014, the Kilsheelan man said that Tipperary must gain promotion to division 3 of the National Football League if they are to make progress. By winning promotion, Tipperary will be competing with stronger teams and this can only be of benefit going forward.

Stating that The Premier County is very fortunate to have people in the county who are passionate about football and are willing to gave their time and commitment to ensuring that it progresses, he urged the Football Board to try and promote the club games on the ground and have more and more people attending. He confessed to being concerned about the decline of traditional football clubs and said that support may be necessary to improve structures within these clubs in order to restore their status.

Also addressed Convention on the night were: *Outgoing PRO of the County Board Ger Ryan

*PJ Maher spoke about the new Player Welfare initiative and encouraged all clubs and players to make submissions to it.

*Chairman of the Friends of Tipperary Football Pete Savage spoke about the work of the Friends in the county but expressed concerns about six different entities trying to raise funds - a fact taken up by Sean Nugent who said that a calendar would be drawn up for fundraising initiatives for both hurling and football.

*Pat Moroney addressed convention on the subject of the development squads.

* County Board Secretary Timmy Floyd outlined details of the new season tickets. The Croke Park ticket for 75 Euro allows entry to all league games and the first round of the championship in whichever code picked. It also allows the option to purchase tickets for all championship games up to and including the All-Ireland Final. Furthermore a 120 Euro ticket from County Board allows entry to all club games in Tipperary, hurling and football and in all divisions.

*Football Board Management Committee member Noel Morris announced that he would be stepping down from the position. He expressed huge disappointment that the County minor football final was not held in Semple Stadium and was disgusted to hear the comment that the football senior final was lucky to be played there, especially when he considers what clubs contributed to Semple Stadium at a time when it was in big trouble.

On foot of a query from former Chairman of the Board Pete Savage (Ardfinnan), it emerged that nothing has changed in the make-up of the Football Board apart from the appointment of officers. From here on, the Board will make recommendations to the County Board and it is at full County Board level that officers will be appointed. The matter was clarified by Mid Board Chairman John Devane (Boherlahan Dualla) who oversaw the committee charged with responsibility for examining the by-laws.

Officers to be recommended to County Board for ratification:

Chairman: Joe Hannigan (Shannon Rovers)

Vice Chairman: Hugh Coughlan (Moyne Templetuohy)

Secretary: JJ Crowley (Grangemockler)

PRO: PJ Leahy (Moyne Templetuohy)

Management Teams for 2014

Senior Football: Peter Creedon, Michael O’Loughlin, Tommy Toomey, Gerry mcGill, Eoin Cooney. Coach Mickey McGeehin; Conditioning Consultant - Haley Harrison.

Junior and U-21: David Power, Pat Moroney, Gerry McGill. Coach- Pat Flanagan: Strength and Conditioning Coach - Alan O’Connor; Team Administration - Tommy Fitzgerald.

Minor: Charlie McGeever, Shane Stapleton, Niall Fitzgerald, Kieran Healy. Strength and Conditioning - DJ O’Dwyer.