The West adjourned convention, which was held in Kickham Hall, Dundrum on Monday night of last week, was dominated by a discussion of a joint motion from Aherlow and Lattin-Cullen Clubs to amalgamate for the purposes of hurling and football in the West championships of 2013. The two clubs were amalgamated at minor and under-21 levels during 2012 and they sought in their motion to extend it to the other grades in both codes.
Their representatives presented strong arguments in favour of their proposal. Pat Moroney spoke on behalf of Aherlow. His message was simple: there was a decline in the number of players available in the club. He instanced the position in Lisvernane primary school where numbers had declined from 160 to 60 between the mid-eighties and the mid-noughties. Numbers had climbed to 80 since then but it was expected that the dip in numbers would return in a few years.
The club was aware of this development for some time. For the past number of years they sought alliances with neighbouring clubs at the younger age levels. Their current proposal was a logical development, the decline at the underage levels had now percolated to the adult teams. They had thirteen players for adult football and ten for hurling.
He backed up his argument with chapter and verse, producing three type-written sheets with the names of those who were retired, injured, emigrated or transferred. Under the last category there were five names. Seven had emigrated and no fewer than ten had retired. He also listed those who were available to play football in 2013 and those who would play hurling.
He gave some of the causes for this development, the decline in big families, the national development to a more urban society. There was a need to adjust to this new development and Aherlow were in the forefront of this need.
He concluded by saying it was a black and white situation: either allow the club to amalgamate or deprive a substantial number of players of playing our games. It was not a sham claim but a real fact that they had 13 footballers and 10 hurlers who wanted to play the game. They couldn’t do so by themselves.
George Ryan, in the unavoidable absence of Mick Byrnes, presented the Lattin-Cullen side. He reiterated the arguments of Pat Moroney. Lattin-Cullen didn’t want to go down the road of amalgamation but they had no choice. They won no game in junior hurling in 2012 and one in intermediate football. They had lost eleven players since. They were no longer able to field a team in Lattin-Cullen and needed Aherlow. To refuse to allow an amalgamation would condemn their players to no games during 2013.
The amalgamation plan was that the two clubs would join in senior and junior football under the name Aherlow Gaels and in junior and intermediate hurling under the name Lattin Gaels, The request was made in order to ensure the future of the two clubs in the division.
Earlier in the meeting when the draw for senior hurling was about to take place, John Currivan (Golden-Kilfeacle) proposed that the amalgamation of Aherlow and Lattin-Cullen should be considered before the draw take place. There was a belief in some quarters of the board that an amalgamation of the two in hurling would lead to Lattin Gaels playing in the senior championship.
Following discussion the opinion emerged that the county board would not allow the amalgamation to play in the senior championship because the board had already decided on the number of 32 teams and also the entry of the amalgamated team into the West championship could interfere with the position of other senior teams in the division at the end of the 2013 championship, which would determine their position under the new structures in 2014.
Only Choice is
The intermediate championship, therefore, was the only place where the Lattin Gales could find a home. Joe Donovan (Aherlow) proposed that the Lattin Gaels be allowed to play in the intermediate championship and his proposal was seconded by George Ryan (Lattin-Cullen)
When chairman, Tom English, asked for any amendment there was one from Michael Hanly (Sean Treacys), seconded by Brian Shields (Galtee-Rovers) that the status quo remain. Both these intermediate clubs had doubts about Aherlow’s and Lattin-Cullen’s claims to be unable to field full teams. Aherlow had played senior hurling during 2012 and now they had the addition of Lattin-Cullen and there was the fear that they would be too strong for the intermediate championship.
There was the added fear that many of the players claimed by Aherlow to be unavailable for 2013 might suddenly get well or return in the course of the year and give that amalgamated team powerful resources. Was there any possibility that Aherlow would give a guarantee that this wouldn’t happen? Pat Moroney said there could be no such guarantee and that if some of the players mentioned in the list returned during the year and wanted to play they couldn’t be prevented from doing so. Neither could the board prevent players from playing with a club if they were eligible to do so.
Following the discussion the vote was taken and passed by a two-thirds majority giving the new team, Lattin Gaels, the right to play in the intermediate championship, which will be played at divisional level on a knockout basis.
Junior A Hurling Doubtful
Another problem raised its head during the evening. Only three teams affiliated in the Junior hurling A championship, Emly, Kickhams and Clonoulty-Rossmore. There were requests to the board from Clonoulty-Rossmore and Kickhams clubs to play intermediate hurling rather than junior A. Their reasoning was that with only three teams affiliated in junior A there would be no meaningful championship and it would be very difficult to motivate their players. They would prefer to play at intermediate level where the number of games would be greater.
The two clubs didn’t quite expect the response they got from Emly, the lone club left in the junior A championship as a result of their actions. Their delegate, Tom Joe O’Brien, was none too pleased with their proposal and criticised the two clubs for their high-handed action in informing the board at the adjourned convention that they had changed their mind about playing in it. He thought their action grossly unfair to Emly and proposed that the two clubs be denied entry into the intermediate championship. There was no way that Emly were good enough for intermediate so there was no question of them going up to that grade. However, he later withdrew his proposal. As a result of his protest the chairman said that he would wait for the county board response to the Clonoulty and Kickhamss request and then something could be done about the junior A situation.
Because of the changes in affiliations to different championships it was not possible to go ahead with draws because they required to be ratified by county board. It was hoped to do this on Tuesday night next and the intention was that the West board would convene soon after that to complete the draws.
The greatest urgency was to get the under-21 football draws completed because these championships had to commence on February 9.
There were four affiliations in the A competition and it was agreed that after the league stage the top team would qualify for the final and the second and third teams play a semi-final. The first round draw was as follows: Aherlow Gaels v Arravale Rovers, Cashel King Cormacs v Golden-Kilfeacle.
There were five teams in the B competition and it was agreed that after the league stage there would be two semi-finals. The first round draw was as follows: Rockwell-Rosegreen v Eire Óg, Galtee Rovers v Kickhams, Emly-Treacys a bye.
Clonoulty-Rossmore had a motion to convention that the senior hurling championship be run on a one-group system and this was taken before the draw for senior hurling took place. Eire Óg proposed that there be two groups with two semi-finals. Following debate the amendment was defeated.
The draw for the first round was then made and resulted as follows: Cappawhite v Clonoulty-Rossmore, Eire Óg v Cashel King Cormacs, Kickhams v Golden-Kilfeacle.
At the start of adjourned convention new chairman, Tom English (Eire Óg), welcomed all the delegates. Under correspondence the continuation of the Sean Treacys & Emly amalgamation at under-16 level was sanctioned. Arravale Rovers complained at having to play their under-21 game against Cashel at such short notice, Aherlow were unhappy with the state of Sean Treacy Park for their football game on September 7. Eire Óg and Galtee Rovers were granted permission to amalgamate at minor level in hurling and football.
A request by Cappawhite and Solohead to amalgamate for under-21 B hurling was late but John Barry (Cappawhite) made a strong plea for its acceptance, Otherwise, according to him, they wouldn’t have a team. The matter will be decided by the county board.
Tom Dawson (Eire Óg) was proposed and accepted as Bord na nÓg representative to the senior board.
The chairman congratulated Roger Kennedy on his appointment to the county management committee.
Board treasurer, Sean Bradshaw, drew the attention of clubs to the season ticket for 2013. It costs E75 and if a couple purchase it the cost is E120.