Kilkenny Annual Convention in O’Loughlin Gaels GAA

Wed 18th Dec Paul Fitzgerald

Kilkenny Annual Convention in O’Loughlin Gaels GAA

 Photo courtesy Eoin Hennessy Photography.

Approx 150 delegates attended the Annual Convention in O’Loughlin Gaels GAA Club on Monday night. Secretary Jimmy Walsh in his first year in the role produced a 20 page comprehensive report on the year’s activities in Kilkenny. Treasurer Barry Hickey went through the 36 page financial report and was pleased that the continuing trend of returning an annual surplus continued. This was €273,939 in 2013 but loan repayments on the Nowlan Park/Dunmore Loan needed to be deducted from this figure. He paid tribute to all who made this possible and warned of the importance of keeping core fund-raising projects such as Weekly Lotto and Hurlers Co-Op Draw successful. In a wide ranging and stirring address Chairman Ned Quinn paid tribute to all who had helped in 2013. “Kilkenny fell short of their own high expectations this season but with unity, focus and good planning the county can be tops again” he concluded.

 

CUMANN LÚTHCHLEAS GAEL CILL CHAINNIGH

SECRETARY’S REPORT 2013

 

Cuirim fáilte is fiche mar Runai an Choisde Chontae Cill Chainnigh roimh gach éinne chun tuarascáil don bhlian 2013  a chur os comhair an Comhdáil Bliantúil anocht. Ba mhaith liom freisin mo bhuíochas a ghabháil do gach duine a chabraigh leis obair Chumainn Luthchleas Gael i gCill Chainnigh i rith na bliana seo.

 

2013 was a very eventful year as vision, effort, hard work and resilience added new dimensions to the games and brought a greater appreciation of the Kilkenny brand to new audiences worldwide. As a result it is my honour and privilege in my first report as County Secretary to try to encapsulate in a few paragraphs a year that threw up gems, at the most unexpected times, in the most unexpected places. Its success was built on the generations of volunteers at Schools, Club and County levels who continue to work tirelessly at all levels for the promotion of the games in Kilkenny.

 

Whilst the retention of the McCarthy Cup eluded our Senior Hurling team, the memories of their Allianz League winning run and the Leinster and All Ireland championship campaigns that were greeted with standing ovations will last forever.  At other levels the Minor and Intermediate seasons culminated in All Ireland Final appearances, whilst the under twenty ones were piped for a Provincial title at the final whistle in extra time. Over the year, the footballers made substantial progress in their new competition and created a platform for players and clubs to row in behind and support. In addition the capture of the All Ireland Intermediate and Junior Club Hurling titles by Clara and Thomastown, the success of the Handballers, a second successive ladies football Féile title and the return of the County Camogie side to the All Ireland final were major achievements. Elsewhere new fundraising initiatives through the Concerts and the Race Day were extremely successful. On the playing fields the progress of the Development squad teams in the national tournaments was a positive step. The ongoing work on improving the facilities in Nowlan Park and the development of the land in Dunmore into two training with the commencement of the dressing rooms and floodlighting bode’s well for the future.

 

Senior Hurling:

Walsh Cup:

Fielding a Development Squad under Richie Mulroney’s management team, the hurling year commenced with a hard earned victory over NUIG on January 26th.  The win saw the side qualify for a semi-final place against Wexford in Blackwater. In the game the new look side continued to show improvement and led by five points early on. Facing a full strength home side, the scores were tied at the break, before the home side ran out winners by 2-18 to 0-16.

 

Allianz National Hurling League:

The road to retain the League title commenced with a long trip to Galway to renew the All Ireland Final rivalry of a few months earlier. Featuring some new faces, a spirited performance in front of a huge Salthill crowd saw the side go down by three points. In Thurles a fortnight later a determination that continued right to the final whistle saw Kilkenny reduce a six point half time deficit to just three at the final whistle. As the league crown now hung precariously, the tide was turned when almost seven thousand spectators in Nowlan Park saw Kilkenny finish with a final ten minutes 1-6 to 0-1 flourish over Waterford take their first league points. The trip to Ennis with both relegation and semi-final options saw a Lester Ryan goal prove decisive as the home side missed opportunities and another brace of points were collected. The final round of appetising games, where all participating teams could still win a semi final place attracted another seven thousand spectators to see a repeat of the 2012 League Final. On the day, Corks bid to secure a Camogie, Hurling league double was seen off by just two points. The result saw Galway provide the semi final opposition in Thurles, where Kilkenny without manager Brian Cody on the line went on to qualify after a slow start.  The road home saw the call to arms for club volunteers to help to host the county’s first league final in Nowlan Park in almost 50 years. As the game, against age old rivals Tipperary gripped the hurling nation 21,447 supporters turned out to see it played at championship pace after the Camogie League Final.

 

Following a hectic start with two early Michael Fennelly goals the sides were tied approaching half time. With no change ten minutes into the new half, a resolute defence inspired the side, who went on to take their sixteenth league title on 2-17 to 0-20 scoreline. For 2014 the inclusion of quarter finals, after prolonged discussion is a welcome step to the most competitive League format to date.  

 

Leinster Championship:

On June 9th eight thousand people saw the return of Brain Cody and two early Offaly goals mark an eventful start to the Leinster championship quarter final in Tullamore. After fifteen minutes the side had settled and eight points on the trot around the half time period saw them through. Two weeks later, Kilkenny were looking good when going in tied with Dublin at the break after playing against the breeze in Portlaoise. An early goal strengthened their position before a blue tide, swamped the game.  After an injury time point saw Dublin in sight of their first Leinster win over Kilkenny in seventy one years a late, late TJ Reid equaliser gave the side a replay date. In what was to be the start of a roller coaster battle against injuries and fatigue the sides met again six days later.  In the contest the blue tide of Dublin continued and Kilkenny were four points behind at the break. Having come within a point, an outstanding goal line clearance gave a secondary glimpse of hope, before the net was rattled to give Dublin a historic 1-16 to 0-16 victory. As Dublin celebrated the long awaited victory, all hurling boats were lifted as the championship was thrown wide open, as the qualifier draw scheduled Kilkenny to clash with another of the pre championship favourites Tipperary. 

 

All Ireland Championship:

On Saturday 6th July, hurling eyes across the world turned to the Coliseum in Nowlan Park, for an epic mid summer struggle between a resurgent Tipperary and a Kilkenny team perceived to be on the wane. The game an All Ireland Phase two qualifier was still five rungs from the top of the ladder that would lead to an All Ireland final appearance in September. With the sold out signs up early in the week in shops and ticket offices, the scribes of the nation had a feast to browse over, as no one was without an opinion.  For the occasion The Park, filled to capacity in the sweltering heat long before the seven o’clock throw in, was a cauldron of good humour, nerves, banter and tension. Tinged with an added sense of place and history, the sides were lauded onto the field as the match announcer added more drama through the announcement of the team lists. After starting well, Kilkenny went two points up and were led 1-4 to 0-3, at the quarter way stage. A late rally saw them go a point ahead before the sides eventually withdrew level at the half time break. After exchanging the lead on the resumption, a crucial JJ Delaney block kept Tipperary from going four ahead. With a point Kilkenny levelled the game and drew slightly ahead with Eoin Larkin unerring on frees. After gaining a three point lead in the titanic struggle, the side again found their lead down to a single point with just five minutes to go. The arrival of No 28 Henry Shefflin lifted the spirits and the siege as the backs were tremendous and their team mates suffering from heat exhaustion went the extra miles to record a famous three point victory. As it was witnessed, by a capacity almost 24,000 crowd, it will never be forgotten for the atmosphere, occasion and the quality of the contest as players became heroes and legends on an occasion to savour forever. Afterwards hurling folk from all sides turned the City to a Mardi Grás festival as they drew breath and reflect on the game. In addition the game renewed the focus on hosting big games in compact county grounds where the atmosphere and occasion could be felt. After three physical battles in three weeks, a quick look forward saw Waterford awaiting on the Phase three rung of the ladder in Thurles the following Saturday. 
Part of the double bill with Clare and Wexford, the throw in was delayed as a dramatic Wexford comeback brought the first tie to extra time. In a slow burning first half Waterford led by three points on two occasions before Kilkenny led 1-6 to 0-6 at the half time break thanks to a powerful Richie Power stanchion hit penalty. With Kilkenny five points ahead with ten minutes to go a powerful Waterford rally forced the game into extra time. On the resumption the side rose phoenix like to once again meet the challenge. On a roll they raced back five points in front only to see it reduced to two at the second break. When Waterford came again in an incredible tie and drew the scores 1-19 to 2-16 with a minute of extra time to play, the toll of previous encounters looked terminal. Drawing on unseen reserves and years of experience that had seen them face the wall so often before, they somehow found the energy to eke out three more scores to record a 1-22 to 2-16 win. In the national picture it was another epic game in what was turning into an extradionary hurling season.

As a result a quarterfinal appearance against Cork awaited the side on a return visit to Thurles two weeks later. Six weeks after the drawn Dublin tie Kilkenny faced their fifth championship on the road to the retention of the McCarthy cup. In the first game of the double bill, an early Kilkenny point got the side on the scoreboard as Cork full of running then went five points ahead.

As the side settled the lead was brought back to three when Kilkenny were reduced to fourteen men, in the injustice of the season three minutes before the break. Five points behind and down a man the side lifted their game and had it down to a three point game following a Tommy Walsh score ten minutes into the new half. Benefiting from the extra man Cork powered eight points ahead. As a never say die attitude kicked in, another last stand reduced the lead to just five points as the team went out of the championship whilst still strongly attacking the Cork goal. On the day the spectators said it all for everyone when they applauded the side off the sod of Semple stadium for a season’s efforts that would have won a championship on many other occasions.  

Sincere thanks are extended to team Manager, Brian Cody, his selectors, Michael Dempsey and Martin Fogarty, to the team and extended panel. Also to the backroom team of team doctor Tadhg Crowley, Physio’s Kevin Curran, John Kearns, Neal Byrne and Alison Holmes and nutritionist Noreen Roche and to the ever going organiser Denis ‘’Rackard’’ Cody for their fabulous work over a memorable season. Following the retirement of Martin Fogarty a special welcome is to be extended to James McGarry and Derek Lyng whose hurling CV’s and knowledge of are outstanding.

 

Intermediate Hurling:

With no other competitors for this year’s Leinster Intermediate championship, it begs the question, why is this grade not being used as promotional competition for the advancement of fringe senior players in some counties and the real intermediate players in the strong Hurling counties!. As a result Galway provided the opposition in the first game, the All Ireland semi-final in Thurles. On the day Kilkenny qualified easily for the All Ireland Final against the holders Tipperary when they overcame the Tribesman by 0-16 to 0-8. With the titles tally at six to three in favour of the Tipperary men, home advantage in Nowlan Park was welcomed as Kilkenny attempted to reverse 2012 final result. Having being led throughout the first half, the sides were tied 0-5 at the quarter way stage before Tipperary went to the break with a 1-6 to 1-5 lead. On the resumption Tipperary pulled five points ahead, before a second John Joe Farrell goal turned it into a lively contest. In the end the second string Tipperary senior side had enough strength and power to hold on for a 2-14 to 2-11 victory.  In the bigger picture thanks are extended to team manager, Pat O Grady, and his selectors Pat O Neill, Declan Connolly, Tom Murphy and P.J. Kenny for their efforts in locating and developing players of potential for the county senior side.

 

Under 21 Hurling:

The early rounds in the Leinster competition saw an even field, as Offaly had just a point to spare over Laois and Wexford had only a handful to spare against Westmeath. Kilkenny’s entry at the semi-final stage saw them meet an Offaly side buoyed up by the performance of their young tigers against the Kilkenny seniors. In Tullamore, Kilkenny found themselves two points in arrears with just ten minutes to go. This came after a single point half time deficit was quickly overturned by three points in a row. The lead was shortly lived as an Offaly goal saw them heading for the finishing line with purpose. In a game of late goalmouth incidents, a Michael Brennan goal turned the tide for Kilkenny as the side added unanswered points to run out 1-16 to 1-14 winners.

The Leinster final saw Kilkenny travel to Wexford Park in a bid to retain their provincial title.  In the game that turned into an epic battle, Kilkenny were three points ahead at half time before the sides were tied 0-17 apiece at the final whistle. In extra time, the crucial score came in the final minute as the sides were again tied.  For Wexford it was a goal that gave Kilkenny no time to respond to salvage a draw.  On the evening, the joy of a Wexford Provincial victory after eleven years was matched by the despair of the Kilkenny side in their late defeat.

Thanks go to team manager, Richie Mulrooney, and selectors Adrian Finan, Niall Lacey and Brían Ryan for the efforts they invested in searching out players for the county side and to also Alan Kavanagh who co-ordinated the gear.  Growing in profile under the sponsorship of Bord Gais a team of the Year was selected and broadcast on TV. In it team captain and senior panellist Brian Kennedy was selected. 

 

Minor Hurling:

Under the newManagement team of Pat Hoban, Sean Kelly, Pat Nolan and James Meagher the major aim of the county was to capture a Provincial crown. On the road, the side’s first two games were at home where an early Laois challenge was overcome with a goal before the break and two more directly after it. After a slow start in the game against Wexford the side made good use of scarcer opportunities and were led just 2-4 to 1-4 at the break. Having drifted five points behind at the three quarter way stage, four points on the trot had the game in the melting pot entering the final ten minutes. The final plays saw a brace of Wexford points allow them deservedly celebrate their first minor win over Kilkenny in twenty seven years.

The result saw Kilkenny travel to Newbridge for the quarter final where a fine win saw them qualify to meet Dublin in the semi-final. After a fine start in the game played in Parnell Park, Kilkenny were a goal behind at the break. On the resumption, six points on the trot saw a precarious match winning lead set up. In the end the game’s final two points gave Kilkenny a four point 0-17 to 2-7 victory. In the final in Croke Park Kilkenny met a Laois side who were seeking their first title in forty nine years having qualified for the final thanks to a four point win over Wexford. After opened well Kilkenny went on to lead by eight points at the break. Facing a spirited Laois side in the second half they went on to collect their fifty-fourth title and more importantly their first since 2010.

In the semi-final two early goals gave a strong determined Waterford side the initiative as the half time lead of two points was maintained to the end despite Kilkenny’s never say die attitude. The day was also marked by the launch of the GAA’s “Give Respect, Get Respect” Initiative. Reflecting on the campaign, it saw Kilkenny make great strides thanks to the great work of all the management team.  In addition to the mentors listed above thanks are also extended to the sides liaison officer Joe Pyke

 

Retirements:

2013 marked the end of the current phase of outstanding contributions to the county by a number of key members of the Kilkenny Senior team.
Noel Hickey (Dunnamaggin).  The retirement of Noel Hickey marked the end of a vital cog of the golden era of Kilkenny hurling. Universally rated as one of the greatest full backs of all time Noel Hickey joined the panel in 2000 and was named “Young Hurler of the Year” in his first season. His record stands at the highest level as the holder of 9 Senior All Ireland Medals. Noel also won 11 Leinster Senior Championship Medals, 6 National League Medals and 3 All Stars and stoutly continues on the edge of the square and as a mentor with his Dunnamaggin club.
John Tennyson (Carrickshock).   A loyal and dedicated member of  the Kilkenny Senior panel since 2005, John won 6 All Ireland Senior Medals, 6 Leinster Seniors, 5 National Hurling Leagues, 2 Walsh Cups, 2 All Ireland under 21’s,  3 Leinster Under 21’s, 2 All Ireland Minor medals, 2 Leinster Minor medals and an All Ireland Colleges medal with St Kieran’s in 2003. John continues to play with his Carrickshock club
Martin Fogarty (Erin’s Own).   After a long and distinguished career as a manager and selector to Kilkenny hurling sides Martin Fogarty stepped down from his current position. In an unrivalled record that saw Martin commence his work through Cumann na mBunscoileanna and the Development Squads Martin trained Kilkenny to two under twenty one All Ireland title winning sides in 2003 and 2004. Martin then joined Brian Cody’s management team that brought six All Ireland Senior titles to Kilkenny between 2006 and 2012. Martin continues to play for the Erin’s own club. 

 

Football:

A new era and challenges dawned on the Kilkenny football scene in 2013. In it a rejuvenated board and new local championship formats were the highlights at home whilst the participation of the county side in the British Junior Championship was a ground breaking experience. The new initiative led to three competitive games being played. A good win over Hertfordshire in the first game was followed by a late one point defeat to Lancashire in the second. This was followed by a two point defeat to Scotland in Edinburgh as an injury time goal denied the team a semi-final spot. Involving Monday night training sessions, a strong commitment from the players and finding a way around the logistical nightmare of getting teams across channel at six days’ notice, the Kilkenny football scene has grown in strength. Having found a road to develop on and with a potential home game in 2014 it is now upwards and onwards. Also deserving mention was the warm welcome extended to the all those involved in the games by the GAA family in Britain.

I wish to thank most sincerely all who put their shoulder to the wheel at Football Board and county and club level. Included are County Chairman Tom Brennan, secretary and logistical expert Tom O’Reilly, team manager Christy Walsh and selectors Eugene Dunphy, Frank O’Mara, Malachy Hogan and Pat Mulrooney.
The implementation of compulsory mouthgaurds up to minor level ran smoothly in 2013 and the new challenge is ensuring their mandatory use for health and safety reasons at adult level from January next.

 

Glanbia PLC:

Kilkenny’s association with Glanbia through the sponsorship of our county teams continues the link of two of the greatest brand names in their respective fields in the country. With both organisations having implemented changes at management level, the strong relationship forged in the past continues as strong as ever.

For the future best wishes are extended to the Glanbia group under the leadership of Siobháin Talbot and sincere thanks are extended to Brian Phelan Group chief executive of global ingredients and to Kieran O’Connor for their sponsorship and unending commitment to the Kilkenny county teams.

 

Supporters Clubs:

Without the dedicated efforts of all those involved in our supporters clubs in Kilkenny, Dublin, Kildare, Northern Ireland, London and New York the strong state of our games in Kilkenny would be greatly reduced. Whilst some aspects of their activities fluctuate with championship success the volunteers are to be highly commended for their commitment and vision in creating new initiatives. These included participation in the organisation of the race day, producing calendars, a new line in wallets. Allied to this were the continual promotion of individual and business memberships and the hosting of the Annual Dinner in our Capital City. In 2013 three new groups in Northern Ireland, London and New York engaged with the Kilkenny diaspora in their areas and raised funds for the benefit of the games at all levels at home.  As a one time Kilkenny, Dubliner, I wish to extend a Míle buoichas to the officers and members of each supporters group and to those individuals whose Pride of Place and interest in their sporting culture have seen them support Kilkenny from afar. We look forward to your continued support in the year ahead.

 

Club Championships:

Saint Canices Credit Union Senior Hurling Championship:
Many changes in this years championship campaign saw St. Martins, Clara and Carrickshock replace the three city clubs and join champions Ballyhale Shamrocks in this year’s county semi-finals. In the first of the double bill before a crowd of almost 7,000 in Nowlan Park, Clara and St Martins side battled all the way before a goal for Clara in the final minutes saw them through. In the second game Carrickshock led Ballyhale Shamrocks from the start. Still only a score ahead with three minutes to go a late goal in injury time saw the challengers through. For the final 8,600 spectators visited Nowlan Park to see the clash of Clara’s fairytale run through the intermediate grade following their senior relegation in 2011 and Carrickshocks sixty two year search for the holy grail. In the final Carrickshock looked comfortable at half time, after a goal on the break levelled the sides and they would be wind assisted in the second half. After an even second half a Lester Ryan goal from a twenty metre free two minutes from time gave Clara a one point advantage. After Clara added another point they secured their second title on a 1-15 to 2-10 scoreline.

 

Michael Lyng Motors Intermediate Hurling Championship:

2012 semi finalists Saint Patrick’s (Ballyragget) and the Rower Inistioge were joined by Dunnamaggin and the Emeralds for the semi-finals of this year’s Intermediate Championship. In the games the surprise packets from Urlingford overcame a battling Dunnamaggin side whilst the Rower Inistioge reversed the result of last year’s championship semi-final when they defeated St. Patrick’s.

In the final the southerners opened a seven point lead that was reduced to three at the break. On the restart the northerners struck a great vein of form and went on to lead 2-10 to 2-9 as a shock result appeared on the cards. However in a thrilling game the Rower Inistioge showing greater experience battled back to take the title on a 2-13 to 2-11 scoreline. The win gave them promotion to the senior grade after a twenty five year break. 

 

J.J. Kavanagh and Sons Junior Hurling Championship:

Bennettsbridge and Lisdowney showed strong form to return to the semi-finals of this year’s Junior Hurling Championship where they were joined by James Stephens and Barrow Rangers. At the penultimate stage Bennettsbridge qualified for their second successive final with a win over the Barrow siders whilst Lisdowney defeated James Stephens. In the final between the clubs who contested the senior final fifty one year’s previously there was such a hunger to succeed that it resulted in one of the best ever seen in the grade. In it Lisdowney led 2-9 to 1-5 at the break before a Bridge rally saw them go a point ahead. For Lisdowney the battle was not over yet. After waiting fifty three years for a breakthrough they levelled on the hour, before they added the final score to record a 2-16 to 1-18 injury time win. The inclusion of the junior games on the weekend match programmes was warmly welcomed as was the recent victory of All County Junior League participants Mount Leinster Rangers in the Leinster Senior club final

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Honda Citroen Centre Minor Hurling Championship:
Played in Thomastown the semi-finals saw O’Loughlin Gaels record a 2-08 to 0-9 win over neighbours James Stephens as the Rower Inistioge had five points to spare over Dicksboro on a 2-10 to 0-11 scoreline. Back in Nowlan Park for the second Sunday in a row the Rower Inistioge were buoyed up by the clubs Intermediate title win. As a result of two goals early in the second half, they went on take the title over a gallant O’Loughlin Gaels side. At the final whistle the 2-9 to 1-7 scoreline saw the Rower Inistioge side take the title for the very first time.

 

J.J. Kavanagh and Sons Football Championships

An early start to the football championships that had a dedicated slot on the fixtures calendar also allowed selectors see games and view players of potential for a county panel to be selected. After qualifying early in the year Muckalee faced James Stephens in the delayed senior final and went on to achieve a historic four in a row. In a double header thriller in Nowlan Park St Patrick’s Ballyragget had a single point to spare over Ballyhale Shamrocks in the intermediate level with the Rower Inistioge defeating Young Irelands again by a single point in the junior decider. In the Leinster Club Football championships both sides put in fine performance with Muckalee being unlucky in going down to Wexford’s St. Fintans and St. Patricks going down to St. Pauls of Westmeath by a single point. 

 

County Championship Results – 2013:

Grade:                                     Teams/Results:

Senior Hurling                         Clara                            1-15                 Carrickshock               2-10                

Intermediate Hurling              Rower Inistioge          2-13                 Emeralds                     2-11

Junior Hurling                         Lisdowney                  2-16                 Bennettsbridge            1-18

Junior ‘A’ Hurling                   Ballyhale Shamrocks   2-13                 Young Irelands           2-11

Junior ‘B’ Hurling                   St. Patrick’s                 3-10                 John Lockes                2-10

Minor ‘A’ Hurling                   Rower Inistioge          2-9                   O’Loughlin Gaels       1-7

Minor ‘B’ Hurling                  Conahy Shamrocks     2-13                 Danesfort                    1-11

Minor ‘C’ Hurling                   Dunnamaggin              2-9                   Carrickshock               1-8      

U.16 ‘A’ Hurling                    Dicksboro                    1-17                 James Stephens           0-10    

U.16 ‘B’ Hurling                     Piltown                        0-16                 Thomastown               0-11

U.16 ‘C’ Hurling                     Emeralds                     2-19                 Dicksboro                    2-7

U.14 ‘A’ Hurling                    O’Loughlin Gaels       1-17                 James Stephens           1-7

U.14 ‘B’ Hurling                     Erins Own                   3-15                 Glenmore                    3-8

U.14 ‘C’ Hurling                     Tullogher Rosbercon   6-6                   Conahy Shamrocks     2-8

U.14 ‘D’ Hurling                    Galmoy                       2-8                   Cloneen/Railyard        2-7

Senior Football                        Muckalee                     2-10                 James Stephens           1-9

Intermediate Football             St. Patrick’s                 2-6                   Ballyhale Shamrocks   1-8

Junior Football                        Rower Inistioge          1-7                   Young Irelands           0-8      

 

Club Championship Sponsors:

Sincere thanks is extended from Kilkenny County Board to competition sponsors St. Canice’s Credit Union, Michael Lyng Motors, J.J. Kavanagh & Sons, Iverk Produce, Country Style Foods, Citroen-Honda Centre, and Duggan Steel for their ongoing sponsorship. As a result an invitation is made to give them support as they play a valuable role in our games promotion in these tough economic times.

 

Regrading:

After much discussion at county board level the Byelaws being proposed seek to iron out the anomaly facing a long serving player who plays in a county final and may find himself with no game the following year as he cannot be regraded. They also outline the type of requirements a player needs to be granted an inter club transfer. Elsewhere the amount of players leaving the country continues to impact most severely on rural clubs where the retention of a parish identity through numbers, rather than skill levels is a major concern. The long term effects of centralization to urban areas and the cost of regular travelling from the major cities allied to less flexible work arrangements in a tighter jobs market are also a concern. In both rural and urban areas a long term view and a fine balance will have to be struck to prevent some talented players being over played, whilst others and their future families may be lost to the game from lack of sufficient competitive activity. Details on the playing of underage players across the various grades are covered by rule.

 

Referees:

Thanks are extended to the panel of over fifty referees who ensure the smooth running of our games during the year. In the ever changing role training and refresher courses are continually provided with the current focus being on the implementation of the new black cards in football. With almost every club now having a referee, new volunteers will be warmly welcomed and support and training will be provided. In every single game referees play an important part in ensuring that all injuries and games are reported on. Congratulations are extended to those referees on the intercounty panel, to those who officiated at our County Finals and those who step in to take charge of games at short notice.  In addition I wish to thank our Notifying Officer Liam Dewberry for developing the high teck match notice and results system and also to the Referees Administrator Sean Breathnach and the Referees Committee for their work during the year.

 

C.C.C.:

Thanks are extended to our C.C.C. who plan and oversee the implementation of our overall fixtures programme. This year they took on the additional role of transfers and player and team regradings. In compiling the fixtures list, many scenarios have to be covered. Included are dates for county teams that reach the All-Ireland by the direct route or by the indirect backdoor route. The mammoth task also includes dates for the college games, the football championships and the British football competition. At the other end is the deadline for the completion of our local championships to allow the winners participate in the provincial hurling and football competitions. The creation of a fixtures book early in the season with the up to date contact details of all club officers proved to be most beneficial. In addition a small number of disciplinary issues added to the workload. By far the busiest of our County Board committees I wish to thank Conor Denieffe in his first year as its chairman and his team for their commitment and dedication in ensuring a great job was carried out in a thoroughly professional manner.

 

Coiste na nÓg:

After another busy year I wish to thank the committee led by Willie Dempsey and Tommy Bawle for having their fixture programme of eight hundred and fifty games on schedule for completion within the calendar year. Also for their unstinting efforts in trying to get the grading correct to ensure well balanced and evenly matched ties. No easy task, it requires a vision and honest co-operation from all involved. This ensures players and teams are challenged at all times to allow them to develop to their maximum potential. Their ongoing work has provided a platform for the successful hurling development squads. However the level of walkovers particularly in football is time wasting and frustrating to all involved. It also results in many players having no opportunity to play the game.  

 

Féile na Gael:

The reversal of the proposals that could effect the opportunity for every player to participate in the national festival was widely welcomed. Its replacement by an overall review that many of our clubs and county have made submissions to is eagerly awaited. This year the county was represented in Féile by teams in five codes with national titles being collected by our ladies and boys footballers and Handballers. In a new initiative Kilkenny hosted the inaugural Leinster Hurling Féile. The games with visiting teams were organised by a separate committee and were played at local venues on the weekend of the National Féile. 

 

Divisional Boards:

In changing times with almost all competitions under their remit being of an All County version a review of roles of both the Northern and Southern Board may be required under rule. The proposals brought forward by the Boards officers to refresh and upgrade the existing leagues has been most welcome and thought provoking. An integral part of the whole County management team their work in completing all competitions to schedule, linking up with the Intermediate team mentors through the Farrell Cup and the promotional work with the website and year book has been top class. With the outstanding games at under twenty level one down for conclusion sincere thanks are extended to the respective Chairpersons Donal Brennan and Pat Dunphy and secretaries Paul Long and PJ Kenny and their officers boards

 

 

 

 

 

Hearings Committee:

Working totally behind the scenes our Hearings Committee led by Jim Walsh and Tom Egan were far busier in the past year. As a result, they are to be complimented for the tedious and detailed work they undertake in dealing professionally and fairly with all the cases presented. In an area of constant change, with new rule interpretation and precedents the visit of John Byrne of Carlow and members of the Leinster Hearings committee was an eye-opener to all of county officials who attended. On the night they outlined the processes involved and the complexities of the work in the Hearings committees’ brief. In a perfect situation, a greater understanding of and adherence to the rules would reduce the number of cases appearing in front of the CCC’s and the subsequent need for appeals to the Hearings Committee.

 

Year Book:

This most sought after publication that circles the globe reflects the great cooperation that flows across the GAA family, as a myriad of script and photos eventually flow in from all corners to rest within its covers. Complied over a three month span by a team of volunteers, it is presented on disks all ready to run at the printers. As usual it contains a full colour record of activities, events, reports, opinions and games across all codes from the youngest in our schools to our oldest members. Under this process developed by Barry Henriques and his team, it has become a benchmark for many other publications and provides a significant income stream annually for development works in Nowlan Park. Currently the funding is being used in setting up an archive of old memorabilia, updating the picture gallery in Nowlan Park and completing the new wheelchair area. Another spin off from members of the group is the annual souvenir booklet researched and produced by Ned Buggy and Gerry O’Neill for the jubilee team being honoured on County Final Day. This year’s edition raised the standards even further and resulted in a sell out when it was requested from near and far. Another plus has been the presentation of team photographs in three rows that was developed in conjunction with Eoin Hennessey.

 

Clubs

During the year the response of every club officer to stewarding, meeting, tickets, fixtures changes financial, and training requests has been absolutely amazing. No words can adequately express the required appreciation to the personnel involved in the ongoing work being done at club level. The backbone of the organisation it sees a huge pride and voluntary commitment to coaching, games and the care and provision of facilities. Over the years many solutions including on line registration, team-list and text messaging have been developed to assist club officers. However much more needs to be done to reduce the paperwork and ensure a smoother and easier way. In the growing area of Go Games, the application process for permission to play challenge games with teams inside and outside the county and province needs to be streamlined.

Primary and Second Level Schools:

At Primary and Second Level work continues with many schools through additional initiatives promoting the value of the games in their areas. It is essential that the local clubs support the schools through the provision of equipment, the sharing of facilities, pitches, indoor arenas, hurling walls and handball alleys and the provision of coaches if required. This is in conjunction with the work of the county board through its coaching and Hurley and ball scheme at secondary level that also helps support the promotion of our games. In an era of possible change with teaching processes the area may require additional support and initiatives in the years ahead. In recognition of the great work being done in this vital area where a love and appreciation of the games are nurtured the County Board are hosting a training night for secondary school coaches in Wallslough in the New Year

 

Coaching and Games Development.

Once again the work of our two fulltime coaches Brían Ryan and James Meagher are to be complimented for their outstanding work in the area of Coaching and Games Development. One of the highlights was Paudie Butlers presentation in the Springhill Hotel, when he asked the attendace to list the reasons on why childeren want to play sport! In it he outlined the competition levels should be age appropriate as young children are children and not adults. Elsewhere a wide range of events were arranged for our juvenile players. The opportunity has been taken up by ten clubs in 2013 to gain a “Club Cill Chainnigh “ flag by meeting the necessary criteria and is available to each and every club in 2014.

 

Development Squads:
At the culmination of the seasonKilkenny Development squads had a most successful day at the various Inter County Development Squad Tournaments. In Waterford the under 14A Squad were defeated by eventual champions Cork in the Tony Forrestal Cup whilst the U14B Squad won the Sonny Walsh Tournament. In the U15 Michael Foley Tournament in Wexford the counties two sides clashed at the semi-final stage with the Northern Squad going on to win the Final. In the under 16A Tipperary Supporters Club Tournament, Kilkenny defeated Tipperary in the Final. Elsewhere in Mallow the Under 17’s reached the Final where they lost out to Cork.

This success was thanks to the efforts of Brendan O’Sullivan, Pat Henderson their committee and team of over fifty development squad coaches working in conjunction with the clubs and players. The year saw the older players received core strength and conditioning education as part of the physical preparation that is common to all sports. Additional structural changes are planned for the development squads in 2014. On the Football front the county participated in the under fourteen and sixteen inter county blitzes where a number of the players who lined out play football only. Delighted to be playing the game the players benefit in the flexibility area and also from learning different skills that are an asset to the player.

 

Tús
A rare opportunity to get work done around the club and create some local employment was offered by Kilkenny Leader partnership in the form of a Tús Work scheme. To date twenty one of our clubs along with a number of associated community groups have taken up positions on the scheme. Revolving with a new placement each year the scheme along with other state sponsored schemes provides a welcome assistance to the participating clubs.

 

Paddy Buggy

On Wednesday 15th of May the death occurred of Paddy Buggy. Paddy was the President of the GAA from 1982 to 1985 and a Kilkenny All Ireland Senior Medal winning hurler in 1957. Born and reared in Slieverue Paddy gave a lifetime of service to the GAA and served at every position at club level. Paddy served as chairman of Kilkenny county board and Leinster in 1990 and 1978 respectively. Paddy was a member of the Slieverue team that won the Junior Championship in 1950 and the Senior Championship in 1954. He then went on to captain Kilkenny in 1955. Paddy joined the Kilkenny panel in 1950 and lined out in the black and amber until 1960. Sincere sympathy is extended to his wife Peggy and his family and friends.

 

Handball:

In an era of change where Handball is the first of our games set to become an Olympic Sport, Kilkenny continues to be successful with a long list of Provincial and All Ireland medal winners at all ages in the 40×20 and the 60×30 and hardball competitions. The advent of One Wall game means opportunities are now available in many club locations to learn the basics of the game. This may be as simple as marking out a court on a gable wall or hurling or wall ball area. Locally organised games or building an association with the local school, could lead to another sporting option being provided to our players particularly at off peak seasons. Its coordination benefits for participants are well documented and have helped up skill players. It is hoped that central funding can be obtained in the near future to assist getting the game off the ground in new areas in the county. Best wishes are extended to all of the organisers led by Martin Lawlor and Billy Love at county level and also to the many workers in the clubs who keep the sport vibrant on a shoestring budget. Also to the players who travel afar to participate in the games.

 

Training Pitches:

The past year has seen great strides made on the provision of the two pitches in Dunmore. To passers by just the Ball stop supports are to be seen, at what is well on the way to become a state of the art training facility. At the venue the grass is growing and the work on car parking, floodlighting and the provision of dressing rooms is well under way. The multi stranded partnership through the Local Authority, community and the funding streams provided through State and Leinster and Croke Park will provide one of the best value for money facilities of its type in the country. Only when the project is completed and opened will all of us be able to appreciate and thank enough the vision and the hard work of the personnel involved. 

 

Nowlan Park:

One of the gems in the countries sporting stadia, Nowlan Park stood out of its own in the past year when it hosted local national and international events. These included The Allianz Hurling league Final, two Bruce Springsteen concerts, a full capacity All Ireland qualifier, the Intermediate All Ireland and a range of games at all levels across four codes and all age groups. Providing a great Spectator experience through its homeliness, ease of access and event management it has returned the benefit of playing games in front of full houses back on the national fixtures agenda. An integral part of the packet is the availability and dedication of over two hundred volunteer stewards for the big occasions.

Work identified and carried under the Slattery report in liaison the statute authorities, Croke Park and Leinster Council has seen the ground capacity increase during the year. The regular review carried out after big events has created a “to do now” list that ranges into a longer term Five Year Plan for further improvements.

As a work in progress, improvements to the terracing for spectator comfort and safety are planned, with the long term aim of easily converting the venue to a concert arena if required. The official opening of Aras Cearbhaill is planned for the New Year and the stadium has benefited directly from additional water storage capacity and the substantial investments in the food outlets. Maintaining a ground that is continually Fit for Purpose and in top class condition is an onerous and responsible task that I wish to thank our grounds man Timmy Grogan and Michael O Neill for. Now recognised as part of the City’s heritage trail, it has added potential for the promotion of Kilkenny memorabilia in Aras Cearbhaill. In addition its financial impact to the region is immeasurable.

IT Committee:

Now a fine tuned public relations outfit under the stewardship of newly elected PRO Seamus Reade and his team, the drive is, to get the word out about everything in Kilkenny GAA. For this the website has become the main vehicle for fixtures, results and comprehensive news updates and photographs. In addition it contributes to funding through advertising and online sales. In a new venture the committee went tweeting this year and have promoted the idea in the clubs where the vast majority are now on board. It also provides minute by minute, score, match reports, team news and lotto results that are seen instantly by seven thousand followers across the world. In an area of constant change the officers held training nights for new club personnel.

 

Child Welfare, Health and Wellbeing

Regretfully the perusal of our daily newspapers does not always bear good news for many reasons. As our activities expand the area of Health and Welfare for our members and players has developed. This has resulted in focussed support programmes that require nominated individuals to manage them in each County Board and Club. As a result an ongoing programme of activities is required to ensure all personnel are kept up to date. The programmes cover the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention, ‘Off the Booze & On the Ball’, Gambling and Suicide Prevention and the Code of Best Practice. During the year two exceptionally attended meetings were hosted by Conor Brennan to explain and support the roles of the Club Children’s and Designated Officers. Elsewhere it is essential for all clubs to have access to a Defibrillator and have trained personnel available to use it. In the coming weeks a partnership arrangement between the County Board and the Samaritans’ will highlight the contact details of the organisation in Nowlan park for anyone wishing to make that call.

 

Insurance:

Think first, check it out and get advice from Willis or Sinead Quinn in Croke Park before you go there, are learning’s to be had in the world of potential accidents in the public liability, property and hirers insurance areas. In this field, the work of Eddie Blackmore and his team on Health and Safety and risk analysis have been a great help.

For players injuries it is essential, that each link in the chain is in place to ensure suitable outcomes and no loss of expenses or earnings. This includes the playing of only players who have paid their membership and are registered online, the use of mouthguards in football and in 2014 the wearing of properly constructed helmets at all times. For games the habit of using printed team lists, ensuring injuries are notified to the referee who in turn returns every match report to Nowlan Park, along with the early and on time notification to Willis is essential. The added requirement of having players submit the required paperwork and receipts immediately after treatment can avert a frustrating and time consuming for club officials. It also prevents an expensive loss if any link fails. The proposed rollout of entering an injury claim online will hopefully streamline the process in 2014. In 2013 the early payment of team insurances resulted in a rebate of almost forty thousand euros being shared by the clubs in Kilkenny.

 

County Strategic Vision and Action Plan:

The completion of the review of County Strategic Vision and Action Plan is one of Kilkenny County Boards targets for the Spring of 2014. On completion new goals and targets will be set and shared with the clubs at a series of meetings.

 

Income and Expenditure:

As a result of our shorter involvement in the All Ireland Hurling championship, turnover figures are down substantially owing to the lower sale of tickets. However the hosting of and the rent from the National Hurling League Final and the All Ireland qualifier were of great benefit. As a result the accounts in the Financial Report to Convention show a surplus of income over expenditure. This is thanks to the strong commercial income and the extensive attention to detail of the Finance team under Treasurer Barry Hickey in ensuring our revenue streams and expenses are continually monitored and managed.

 

Hurlers Co-Op Draw:

The annual Hurlers Co-Op launched by DJ Carey in the Springhill Hotel continued the co-operative system to provide much needed funds to both Clubs and County. Its success in stretching times is mainly due to the work of the draw and club co-ordinators, individual promoters and the loyal supporters who purchase tickets each year. Established over thirty years it is now an integral part of each clubs financial plan, the availability of an online sales option provides an added added opportinuity for additional members. We look forward to another successful draw taking place in 2014.

 

Hurlers Co-Op Draw Results:

Draw  No. 1:               1st Prize:          Car or  €10,500           Joe Wall, Mooncoin, Co. Kilkenny.   

                                    2nd Prize:          Cash  – €2,000             John & Eileen Walker, Callan, Co. Kilkenny.

3rd Prize:          Cash  – €700                Jamie Dunphy, Mooncoin, Co. Kilkenny.                                                                                         

Draw No. 2:                1st Prize:          Car or €10,500            Agnes Cleary, Piltown, Co. Kilkenny.                                                           2nd Prize:          Cash – €2,000              Peter & Eoin Kenny, Slieverue, Waterford.              

3rd Prize:          Cash – €700                 Tom Doran, Lisdowney, Co. Kilkenny.

 

Draw No. 3:                1st Prize:          Car or €10,500            Ruth Crowley, C/O Carrickshock G.A.A. Club.

2nd Prize:          Cash – €2,000              Hilda McCarthy, Lehenaghmore, Cork.                    

3rd Prize:          Cash – €700                 Threecastles G.A.A. Club.

                       

Draw No. 4:                1st Prize:          Car or €10,500            Eddie Cummins, Turkstown, Co. Kilkenny. 

2nd Prize:          Cash – €2,500              Stella Walsh, Piltown, Co. Kilkenny.

3rd Prize:          Cash – €600                 Brendan Kelly, Paulstown, Co. Kilkenny.

 

Draw No. 5:                1st Prize:          Car or €10,500            Gerome Fogarty, Johnstown, Co. Kilkenny. 

                                    2nd Prize:          Cash – €2,500              Padraig Whitty, Borris, Co. Carlow.

                                    3rd Prize:          Cash – €700                 Kathleen Gorman, Ballyroan, Co. Laois.

 

County Board Lotto:

After seventeen years the benefits of the County Board Lotto for Clubs and County is still immense. In showing a slightly declining profit in line with many fundraising activities, the clubs weekly earnings from the draws continue and are added to by the end of year contributions against the club accounts that amounts to almost another €30.000. In the years ahead the Draw will need to be reviewed by all of the stakeholders with the requirement to increase weekly sales to ensure its viability. Great kudos is due to the loyal band of volunteers on Shelia Molloy’s team who organise and supervise the draw on Tuesday evenings and also to the clubs coordinators, individual sellers and buyers.

 

Conventions
The annual meeting of any group or organisation offers an opportunity to guide their activities in the Year Ahead. The GAA has always prided itself in being a grass roots organisation and being able to steer and guide its direction through rules through motions. The loss of this would be a retrograde step. As a result it is essential that each club records the items that they feel need to be reviewed and at the end of each year they should dedicate some to following them through and returning the various nomination forms. Following this annual get together a review will be held to help plan for convention in 2014 and to follow up on the possible appointment of a president or presidents to the county board.

 

Bereavements:

This year has seen the passing of many of our former players, officials, members and life long supporters. Prominent in many areas, on the playing fields and at club and county level their contributions and achievements have created the memories that will live on to sustain new generations. Included on the list of All Ireland senior medal holders who passed away were, Bill Walsh, Jimmy Heffernan, Pa Dillon, Tom Walsh, Mickey Walsh, Pat Delaney and Paddy Buggy. To their families and friends I offer the sympathies of all of the GAA family. To mark their passing Convention will adjourn its activities for a moment’s silence. Ar dheis De go raimh a nAmanacha

 

Youth Convention
A Youth Convention isamongst the initiatives being organised by Youth Officer Conor Brennan in the New Year where delegates aged eighteen to twenty-one from each club will be invited to attend.

 

Media:

In an era of multi media outlets facing many requests for a slice of the action, I wish to thank all sections of it for the coverage afforded to the games at club and county level. In a day when news is instant, a well geared organisation will be well served. Locally I wish to thank our local radio stations and local newspapers for the coverage supplied and also to our members who keep the wheels oiled with news of activities and events taking place in their clubs and communities. Also to Willie Dempsey and our many photographers who ensure every game is covered.

 

The Gathering

One of the great success stories of 2013, the Gathering saw many clubs and parishes involved in féilte and imeachtaí that brought the whole community, including emigrants and visitors together. In them the playing of games from our youngest players to veterans was one of the great attractions. In Kilkenny the Indy (Indianapolis) Hurling Club and the St. Louis Hurling Club were guests at the Kilkenny County Board Gathering Event. The all American Clubs made the trip, to hone and savour the skills of their newly adopted sport. Amongst their highlights was a coaching session given by Martin Fogarty in Nowlan Park and a dinner with Guest Speaker Brian Cody. It also included visits to a Hurley maker, to the Conahy Shamrocks Club and to Kilkenny’s All Ireland Hurling quarter final tie with Waterford. Thanks to the vision and foresight of the various organisers the Gathering events have opened up a new range of possibilities and spin off opportunities for many clubs.

 

Cultúr

In a busy season for club personnel that stretches from January 1st to December 31st. our overall commitments to the cultural area in all aspects are minimal. Our efforts at county level are generally assigned to the Scór competitions organised by Sean Breathnach, which despite all his attempts have low participation levels. Also involved are the annual scoláireachtaí go dtí an Gaeltacht and most recently the chomharthaíocht ar bhóithre project pointing the way to our club pitches. It is hoped in the Year ahead to plan new initiatives’ and to involve new volunteers to promote and highlight our teanga agus traidisúin in more areas

 

Club+ 3 Year and Season Tickets

The advent of the Season ticket for attendance at inter county games in recent years saw Kilkenny supporters amongst the top three purchasers nationwide. This new concept at county level was similar to Kilkenny’s 3 Year ticket for attendance at all games organised under the auspices of Kilkenny County Board. It also marked the end of the current phase of our 3 Year Ticket scheme. Although falling in numbers the 3 Year Ticket scheme had provided a substantial pool of money for Developmental purposes since its inception almost twenty years ago.  In 2013 a new Club+ ticket was launched nationally and in Kilkenny the 3 Year Ticket holders were migrated to it free of charge and benefited from the Season ticket benefits. The result saw a cash inflow to the county owing to a conversion factor on the number of existing season tickets. The county’s challenge now is to roll this value for money deal to our supporters and maintain this stream of valuable funding through an innovative marketing policy both at local and national level.
Also on the ticket front, the availability of tickets in the local Centre and Supervalu stores has allowed the games reach out to new supporters, increase attendances, provide a reduction of ticket related activities for club officials, a reduction in last minute queuing and a reduction in the amounts of cash in circulation at big games.  It has also supported stores in our local areas by providing added footfall at match times.

 

Rasaí na gCapall
The inaugural Race Day in Gowran Park proved to be a tremendous social and financial success. Initially scheduled for Saturday March the 23rd it was moved to Tuesday 9th of April owing to weather conditions. With the attendance of county players to sign autographs and to present the prizes, the support of corporate, business and individual sponsorship and other events, the attendance figures were well up on average.  As a result of its success the event is to be repeated and will take place on Saturday March 8th. As we look forward to it Míle buiochas is extended to the committee that included members with invaluable expertise from the racing game

 

 

Changing Faces
Convention 2013 sees Ned Buggy (Leinster Council), John Comerford (Coaching Officer) and Séan Breathnach (Oifig Gaelach) end their current involvement with Kilkenny county Board. Between them their input to the games in Kilkenny, initially through their clubs as officers and their involvement at county level has been truly phenomenal. Having worked with them for many years, no number of words could eloquently give tribute to their versatility and commitment carried out in so many different ways. The experience gained is immeasurable and I look forward to continuing to work with them in some way at County Board level.

Looking ahead:

As we look forward to a new year of challenges and opportunities, it is essential that we continue with the tried and tested Kilkenny way of all working together. Starting from the cradle and working through our families, supporters, schools and clubs, to the County Board, all seeking to refresh, renew and achieve for our county Kilkenny.  

Having being swept with the other new officers onto a huge learning curve over the past twelve months, it is imperative that the next post holders that arrive in the coming years or under the five year term, should have the benefit of being phased in by a shadowing system to learn the ropes for at least a year in advance.

As we reflect on the generations of famine and plenty that we have experienced on the sporting front, our aim must be enjoy and appreciate the current era of success and then build and extend it as a driver for the next generation. With a huge scope for everyone to be involved in learning, working and sharing, the aim to do our best at every step and deliver more achievements and create new memories is achievable.

 

Meitheal

Co-operation, support, guidance, assistance and team work from everyone working with the many diverse activities of Kilkenny GAA has been the highlight of the past year. At times it gave a feeling, akin to the buzz of being almost permanently standing under a high dropping ball in the square. As a result a huge slua of daione are to be thanked for their commitment and dedication to ensuring the smooth and efficient running of the Kilkenny set up. Firstly to the existing officers Chairperson Ned Quinn and Treasurer Barry Hickey, who within twenty-four hours of last years convention had taken the new appointees Conor and I through the micro details of the workings of Kilkenny County Board. Special thanks to Chairman Ned who leads and guides, for sharing his vast knowledge, support and advice during the year and to Treasurer Barry for his ongoing support and diligent care and handling of the extensive financial attractions. Thanks to fellow debutantes Vice Chairperson Conor Denieffe, the head of the crucial fixtures programme and Seamus Reade PRO and IT who have both learned the ropes, been innovative, shared their thoughts, advised  and who have brought their own stamps to the positions. Also to Pat Henderson in Finance for his continued support and the huge contribution he makes to all things Kilkenny and Nowlan Park. Included too are Kilkenny delegates Paul Kinsella, John Lacey, Ned Buggy and John Comerford, Eddie Blackmore and Val Malone on our Management committee who all have dedicated and responsible positions and roles. Also to the officers of the Northern, Southern and Schools Boards, Coiste na nÓg, and the Football, Handball, Ladies Football and Camogie organisations and the many sub committees that all work together with them. So too to the personnel in Leinster Council and in Croke Park along with the officers in other counties. Also to our supporters clubs leaders John Mackey, Jim Freeman, Dr. Sean Dunne, Eddie Nolan. Thanks to the many club officials for their assistance and patience, to the managers, their teams and players for their co-operation as they went out every day to do justice to the jersey and county. On our field of dreams in Nowlan Park céad míle thanks are extended to Timmy Grogan and Michael O’Neill for their great work, to their match day crew of Kevin and Cori. Also to our brilliant team of gatemen and stewards too numerous to mention that take on many and very responsible roles inside and outside the grounds to ensure a pleasant visit for all spectators. Also to the external bodies that include the Local Authorities, Gardaí, State Bodies, Order of Malta the HSE, Civil Defence for the important parts they play. In this note it must be recorded the appreciation for the huge amount of time and effort that is given by the hundreds of volunteers that are also busy with family life, work and other commitments. We are also forever grateful to those young retired members who give so much of their extra spare time to the organisation.
Finally a special word of thanks is extended to Caroline Morrissey in Nowlan Park, whose crucially important and promotional role in the front line of Kilkenny GAA affairs cannot be underestimated and is immeasurable. To Caroline too for her kindness and courtesy to a new person on the block, for sharing her vast experience on GAA processes, for giving gems of advice on many matters and most importantly, all delivered with a friendly laugh and a smile.

Honoured to able to play a small part in the wonderful Kilkenny set up, I wish to thank each and every one who assisted it and me any way. To the places and events I did not get to go to for many reasons, I wish to extend my apologies. Finally I wish to thank my ever patient wife Therese, Julie and Shane my extended family members, neighbours, club mates, almost forgotten friends, workmates and my employer Eircom for all their valuable help and support over the year.

 

Tá súil agam go mBeidh laethanta speisialta again aris ag Cill Chainnigh. 

 

Buiochas:

 

Seamus Breathnach (Jimmy Walsh), Runaí Coiste Contae.

 

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