Tim Floyd (left) and John Devane (right) will preside over a very important meeting for the GAA in Tipperary next Tuesday evening.
Clubs have strongly condemned suggestions that players have not been consulted on how to formulate the senior hurling and football championships in Tipperary.
A number of GAA clubs in mid and north Tipperary are smarting at suggestions made last week that players have not been consulted to get their views on whether or not there should be a severing of ties between the divisional and county championships under the new structure which is to be voted on at the end of the month.
The clubs are strongly repudiating the claim that they are out of touch with their players views having met with their adult panels and discussed the matter at length with them face to face. Indeed, several of these clubs have in recent days taken to social media to publicly reiterate the face that they have comprehensively consulted with players on this important matter.
A report on the result of a Club Players Association survey carried out recently led to comments of there being “a signifciant disconnect between how Tipperary club players and how club delegates and administrators want to see the domestic championships” being run. And, clubs have taken issue with comments from CPA Co-Ordinator Willie Coleman (Gortnahoe Glengoole) who claimed that the disconnect should force club delegates to go back to their clubs and find out from their players what it is that they want. The survey suggested that 64% of players who responded were in favour of a proposal from the County CCC which would break the link between the county and divisional championships. That 64% however, accounts for just 319 players and there are many multiples of that playing hurling and football in Tipperary right now.
“The results of the survey have been skewed in my view and does not reflect the position of the vast majority of players as far as we can tell. Furthermore,the majority clubs in mid Tipperary consulted their players on this issue and all clubs in north Tipperary did likewise. It is factually wrong to suggest that there is a disconnect between the players and club delegates – players have been consulted and they are the ones giving the mandate to delegates to maintain a meaningful divisional championship with a link to the county championship,” one club official told The Tipperary Star this week.
We understand that a number of meetings have taken place over the last week where proposals have been drawn up and will be sent forward for consideration. These proposals have been drafted on the basis of criteria set down by the County CCC. However, in recent correspondance from the County Runai, Tim Floyd, an extra two weekends have now been cut from the original allocation and is proving problematic. Still, officials who are all for keeping the divisional links, feel that their proposal is tenable.
There are two similar proposals in the offing. One will seek to break the divisional and county championship links with the football championship – a move which has the backing of the football clubs. And, another which has senior football captain Brian Fox in the driving seat, seeks to keep those divisional links. There may well be other proposals too in the coming days prior to D-Day on Tuesday evening next.
Crucially, one of the backers of maintaining of the divisional championship with the county, current Munster Council rep Jimmy Minogue, has announced that he is to stand for the position of Vice Chairman of the County Board, and consequently Chairman of the CCC. He informed north clubs last week that he would be voting with his division to keep the divisional championship links while Moyne Templetuohy man Joe Kennedy, current Chairman of the Mid Board, is also expected to thrown his hat into the ring having presided over a very successful term as Cathaoirleach of the Board. Were he to be successful though, he would, in three years time, be the third mid based Chairman of the County Board – a move which would perhaps raise eyebrows in the other divisions.
The incoming Chairman of the Mid Tipp Board, Jonathan Cullen has also moved to defend the divisional structure and says that undermining it could threaten the very entity which the Association is endeavouring to defend – the existence of clubs. Furthermore, he added that his club Loughmore Castleiney, which is regularly caught up in fixtures difficulties due to considerable success in both codes, is staunchly behind retaining the divisional link, despite the difficulties they have faced in the past with the fixing of game.
The whole championship shake-up comes as a result of a Congress motion at national level which has transformed the hurling championship for 2018 and will see round robins played in Munster and Leinster, thereby squeezing the dates available for club games. The crux is proving particularly problematic for dual clubs, of which there are a number in Tipperary