The Secretary of the Mid Tipperary GAA Board, Jonathan Cullen has lamented the perceived decline in importance of the divisional Convention with only seven clubs returning nomination forms, and no motions submitted for debate.
In a very comprehensive and wide ranging report to Convention, the Loughmore Castleiney man recalled days when the venues would be ‘packed the rafters’ and element of debate from delegates enormous.
“The lack of interest in our yearly meeting has really come to light this year with only seven clubs returning Nominations and no club submitting any motions to be considered and debated. All too often now we hear complaints that the clubs, which are the foundation of our association, are not being listened to. Well if we don’t instigate discussion and debate, our voices are surely going to be lost which would be a total shame,” the Secretary states in the report which will be debated in full at the Convention in Killea on Friday evening next.
Taking a comprhensive journey through the activities of the Board during the season past, Jonathan Cullen outliunes the various competitions and achievements by clubs, the most noteworthy of which was his own clubs winning of the County senior hurling and football double for the first time ever in The Premier County.
On the refereeing front, retirements have resulted in the numbers declining in the division and the Secretary has hit out at what he terms ‘freelance referees’ who will only undertake tournament and challenge games and are not making themselves available to officiate at competitive level.
“This is totally unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue. Clubs will have to be furnished with an up-to-date list of active referees who are making themselves available to referee league and championship games each week and who should be given the opportunity to develop by refereeing challenge games and tournaments.
“As always in the GAA, there continues to be a need for regular informative meetings to discuss events that may have happened in past games as well as discussing and developing knowledge of the rules. I would urge our referees committee to play a greater role in this area especially during the busy periods of the year when regular meetings and discussions should be held,” he said.
And in reference to a seminar held in LIT Tipperary earleir in the year, the Secretary offered the view that such events are very necessary as “it is quite obvious that there are referees in this division who display a clear lack of knowledge of the rules especially in football.”
Stating that 2013 was a very disappointing year for Tipperary on the intercounty front, Jonathan Cullen suggests that blue and gold jersied teams are becoming unable to match the pace and intensity of opposition. “ When one looks at the achievements of our neighbours Clare, with many players who were slim and trim and do not appear muscly or bulked up in any way, you would have to question the need to have players spending endless hours each week in a gym partaking in weight lifting and body building exercises so as to bulk up. Hurling should be played at a fast pace by players who are not over burdened by extra muscle and upper body condition that many rugby players don’t even possess.
“Many people have commented recently about the performances of some of our top county players at club level and how they have trimmed up and begun to play brilliantly again. This to me proves that games and championships can be won with players who are allowed to play in a more natural form. Of course there is a certain amount of strength and conditioning required but let’s not over do it anymore. There are lots of fine hurlers in Tipperary and I have no doubt that with a little tweaking here and there it won’t be long before we will be enjoying major successes once again
Our footballers also had a disappointing year, However there were some good performances especially by our Junior footballers in defeating Kerry and also our Minor footballers who played to a very good level in all their games and were a little unlucky to say the least against Monaghan. It was disappointing that the senior footballers got off to such a poor start to the national football league as it probably cost them promotion. The mammoth task of playing Kerry again in the opening round of Munster also proved a bridge too far with the gulf in ability at this level still very obvious.”