Kilkenny Annual Convention 2021

Tue 14th Dec Paul Fitzgerald

Kilkenny Annual Convention 2021

The annual Kilkenny County Board Convention took place online on Monday night last.   See below for a full transcript of the Secretaries Report and the Chairperson’s Address.   All officer’s were returned for 2022.

A Chairde, is mór an onóir dom mar Rúnaí Choiste  Chontae Chill Chainnigh  fáilte a chuir roimh gach éinne anocht go dtí Comhdhail Bliaintúil 2021 agus tuarascáil don bhliain a chur ós bhúr gcomhair. Ba mhaith liom freisin mo bhuíochas a ghabháil do gach éinne a chabhraigh le obair Chumainn Lúthchleas Gael i gCill Chainnigh a chur chun tosaigh i rith na bliana seo, bliain a bhi deacrachtai againn arís de bharr Covid.. Once again it is an honour and privilege as County Secretary to report on  all of the work, activity and achievement that occurred in Kilkenny GAA during the past year. It was a year where we won/shared the Allianz Hurling League title and a Leinster Senior Hurling championship success while our minors won the delayed 2020  and the 2021 Leinster titles on the playing fields. Further details of these victories below and well done to all involved.  

Covid-19 :
Unfortunately 2021 like its predecessor,was another disrupted year for the GAA as the Covid-19 pandemic continue to impact on clubs, families and individuals. However, despite another strange and challenging year the GAA succeeding  in playing its competitions at local and inter county level while also continuing to play a role in helping local communities deal with the pandemic.  

Once again when our games resumed this year safety was a major concern and we saw a return to Covid Officers, Health Questionnaires, hand sterilisation, non use of dressing rooms, social distancing, isolation units, limits on numbers of spectators at games and for a while no challenge games against teams from outside the county. To the credit of clubs they implemented everything requested of them and our games resumed safely and our competitions were played. 

In terms of games  alternative formats for championships continued with the aim of providing as much activity as possible  to teams in the narrow window available to us. Later in the year there was a gradual relaxation on numbers allowed attend games and our attendances increased exponentially.  

 

Senior Hurling: 

Allianz National Hurling League:
In what was a first for the competition Kilkenny  and Galway won/shared the 2021 Allianz Hurling League title. In doing so Kilkenny captured the League title for the 19th time.  Due to a Covid lockdown the  commencement of the Allianz Hurling  League  was delayed and it eventually began on May 8th.  While all of Kilkenny’s games in their six team group in Division One were played there was insufficient time for the final, against Galway, to be played before the championship began. Had Kilkenny and Galway met subsequently in the championship the game would have doubled as the League final. When this did not happen the two counties were declared joint winners. 

Kilkenny’s path to this title got off to a successful start when Dublin were defeated in Parnell Park by 1-20 to 0-18,  a victory helped by Martin Keoghan’s tally of 1-4. The sides were level after the second water break but Kilkenny powered home by shooting 1-4 without reply in the final quarter. The second game of the competition was at home in UPMC Nowlan Park and saw Kilkenny defeat newly promoted  Antrim by 1-28 to 3-15.  Another victory followed when Wexford were defeated by  2-27 to 0-23 again in UPMC Nowlan Park on May 30th  Kilkenny’s win was due to a strong first half performance with goals from Billy Ryan and TJ Reid helping the side to a fourteen point interval lead.  

A victory over Laois (1-29 to 0-22) in UPMC Nowlan Park on June 6th in their penultimate game guaranteed Kilkenny top spot in their group irrespective of the result of their last game against Clare.  Kilkenny’s unbeaten run in the competition was ended by Clare in Cusack Park in Ennis on 12th June. There was only the minimum between the sides at half time and at the second water break but two goals in the last quarter saw the Model team win by 4-20 to 1-25.  

While it was disappointing that the final could not be played and that attendances at games were limited,  nonetheless there was relief that the competition could be played at all and the players, Brian Cody  and the management team should be congratulated on adding another title which moves us to joint top of the table with Tipperary for Hurling League titles won.  The groups for Division 1of the 2022 Allianz Hurling League will see Tipperary, Waterford, Antrim, Dublin and Laois join Kilkenny in the Division 1B group. 

 

Leinster Championship:
Kilkenny won their 73rd  Leinster title, the 17th under Brian Cody’s management and a second consecutive title when they defeated Dublin by 1-25 to 0-19 in the final played on July 17th h in Croke Park. As the permitted return of spectators continued a crowd of 18,000 saw a confident and clinical display from Kilkenny with their bench providing a significant impact  when required in the second-half. They led  by seven points when TJ Reid’s goal from a 62nd minute penalty ended the game as a contest. Dubin were affected by Covid with two of the starting fifteen and two subs ruled out of the game. They competed strongly in the first half  but still trailed by three at the interval as they hit eight  wides. Those wides proved costly for the Sky Blues as Kilkenny killed the game in a decisive third quarter. Four subs scored for Kilkenny  as we got a got a major impact from our bench. Michael Carey, Alan Murphy, James Bergin and Cillian Buckley shot 0-5 between them while James Maher, who was a late introduction to the starting team, played well at  at wing-back and fired over three points. TJ Reid finished  with a tally of 1-10, while Eoin Cody was extremely lively alongside him in the full-forward line and won the crucial second-half penalty. 

The game of the Leinster championship was undoubtedly the semi-final between Kilkenny and Wexford. There have been some thrilling games with our great rivals over the years but this game was up with the best of them. Momentum swung from one team to the other and back again throughout the seventy minutes. Wexford had led by a single point 0-15 to 0-14 at the interval after a back and forth first half. Kilkenny enjoyed the best of the third quarter and thanks to a flurry of points led by four at the second water break. David Dunne struck the first goal of the game with eight minutes remaining her Wexford point saw thaen three up. An excellent response saw Kilkenny level and an Eoin Cody goal seemed to put Kilkenny in control. However, three late Wexford points levelled the game. The final Liam Ryan point which  sent the game to extra-time involved Hawk-eye which ruled it a point after Eoin Murphy had appeared to stop it going over and Conor McDonald had slotted the rebound to the net. The hawk-eye replay showed that the ball had actually dropped over the bar before Eoin had stopped it and so extra time was required.  

There was further drama at the start of extra time when Eoin Murphy was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes. His opposite number Mark Fanning converted the resultant penalty. Despite this disadvantage of being a man down, Brian Cody’s charges battled well and found themselves just a point behind at half-time in extra-time and when Walter Walsh scored a crucial goal in the second half of extra time it finally put some breathing space between the teams and Kilkenny ran out winners by 2-37 to 2-29. 

After two years in which the Leinster championship has been played on a straight knock out basis it is good to hear that the 2022 competition will revert to the pre Covid format which, while still to be confirmed at the time of writing, would see Kilkenny play Dublin (away), Laois (home), Westmeath (away), Galway (away) and Wexford (home). 

All Ireland Championship:
Kilkenny’s interest in the 2021 championship ended with an All Ireland semi-final defeat to Cork after an epic game at Croke Park in front of an attendance of 24,000 on 8th August.. Cork had  looked in control with a six-point lead in the closing stages, but Kilkenny fought back from the dead to force extra-time, thanks to a last second goal from captain Adrian Mullen that made it 1-26 to 0-29.The sides had been level seven times in a gripping first half. Kilkenny had the minimum advantage at half-time, 0-15 to 0-14 and moved four points clear early in the second half but again the momentum of the game swung and the two teams were level on 0-21 each at the second water break. Cork then scored six unanswered points between the 55th and 64th minute but Kilkenny showing their trademark resilience reduced the deficit to three points with long range points. The clock was into the 75th minute when Padraig Walsh picked out Adrian Mullen on the edge of the square and he crashed the ball to the net. Both teams had goal chances in the first half of extra time but it was Cork’s Jack O’Connor who scored the crucial goal before half time in extra time that set  his side on the way to victory, and despite Kilkenny’s best efforts Cork finished the game strongly and on the final whistle the scoreboard read 1-37 to 1-32. Full credit to our players for their never say die spirit throughout the game and the manner in which they forced extra time. Our thanks go to Brian Cody, James Mc Garry, Martin Comerford and Conor Phelan for their work throughout the year and also to all the members of the back room team for their contribution. 
Two members of the back room team, Noreen Roche and Kevin Curran have stood down  at the end of 2022. I thank them both for their work, interest  and contribution to Kilkenny over many years and wish them all the best in the future. 

Bord Gáis Energy Under 20 Hurling; 
Kilkenny’s first game in the Bord Gais Energy Under 20 Leinster championship was against Laois in UPMC Nowlan Park on July 13th. The tie was well contested and the lead changed hands on a number of occasions throughout but Kilkenny got on top at the start of the third quarter and finished winners by 1-18 to 1-15. 

The Leinster semi-final against Galway in Tullamore’s O’Connor Park  a week later proved very disappointing for Kilkenny as a disastrous first half when they never got going saw them thirteen points behind at half time. To their credit Kilkenny worked and hurled their way back into the game in the second half reducing the deficit to four points before Galway hit an insurance point to win by 1-18 to 1-13. Thanks to Manager Derek Lyng, and selectors Michael Rice and Peter Barry for their work and commitment to this group. 

 

Electric Ireland Minor Hurling;
Due to the impact of Covid the format for  original draws and format for the 2020 Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling championship  were abandoned and a straight knockout competition introduced. Kilkenny final saw action in the semi-final on 20th December when they ended the reign of provincial title holders Wexford with a deserved six-point victory in the Leinster MHC semi-final at Chadwicks Wexford Park. It was to be almost seven months later before the Leinster final against Offaly was player in MWH O’Moore Park on the 3rd July when Kilkenny won their 58th Leinster minor tile winning by 2-21 to 3-9. Kilkenny progressed straight to the All Ireland final played a week later, again in Portlaoise, as a result of this win. The game was a thriller and Kilkenny having trailed by seven points after 11 minutes and four points at the interval finally hit the front with four minutes to go. Kilkenny still led by one as the game entered injury time and extra time seemed likely when Galway leveled but a late goal for the westerners saw them win by three points 1-17 to 1-14. It was a disappointing loss but credit to Galway on achieving a historic four in a row at the minor grade.
Because of the delay caused by Covid the 20201 minor championship had commenced before the 2020 competition had finished and Kilkenny entered the competition at Leinster final stage when they defeated  Offaly by in UPMC Nowlan Park on 21st July by 3-23 to 1-16. A second consecutive Leinster title was added when Wexford were defeated by 1-15 to 2-10 in a closely fought final in Netwatch Cullen Park on July 28th.  Galway proved too strong for Kilkenny in the  All Ireland semi-final in Semple Stadium on August 13th when they won by 0-23 to 1-12. 

Thanks to manager Richie Mulrooney, selectors Adrian Finan, Sean Kelly and Martin Carey and team trainer James Meagher for their work. It was not an easy task with the interrupted nature of the 2020 campaign and the fact that two panels had to be trained simultaneously for much of the 2021 year. 

 

Kilkenny Club Championships: 

Once again due to a Covid enforced constricted time frame  there were a reduced number of games for Senior, Intermediate and Junior Clubs in our Leagues and Championships.  

Hopefully in 2022 Covid will be a thing of the past or at least will not cause the same difficulties and we can look forward to the first full year of the “split season” with the second half of the year given over entirely to club activity. This will allow clubs unhindered access to all of their players and a return to the League Championship format for our main adult competitions, a format that has proved so successful in maintaining clubs’ interest in every round of the League competition. 

St. Canice’s Credit Union Senior Hurling Championship:
Shamrocks Ballyhale completed a four in a row and captured their 19th Kilkenny Senior Hurling title when they defeated O’Loughlin Gaels  in the 2021 county final winning by 3-19 to 3-15 in what  many observers thought was the best final for many years.  The semi-finals had seen Shamrocks defeat James Stephens and O’Loughlin’s get the better of Tullaroan. Congratulations to the Shamrocks Ballyhale team on recording a second four in a row of county titles and commiserations to O’Loughlin Gaels who played their part in a memorable final. 

Michael Lyng Motors Hyundai Intermediate Hurling Championship:
Glenmore,  Thomastown, Fenians and St. Lachtain’s qualified for the semi-finals of this year’s Interemediate Championship.  St. Lachtain’s were first to qualify for the final when they defeated Fenians by 2-12 to 0-10 while  Glenmore prevailed over Thomastown  in the second semi-final by 0-19 to 1-13 . In the final Glenmore prevailed  by  3-19 to 2-9. Congratulations to the Glenmore  club on its victory and a return to senior ranks they last graced in 2005. Commiserations to the St. Lachtain’s team who, though disappointed on the day, will no doubt regroup determined to go a step further next year. 

J.J. Kavanagh & Sons Junior Hurling Championship:
Mooncoin  and Tullogher Rosbercon  qualified for the County Junior Hurling Championship final thanks to victories over Slieverue and James Stephens in the semi-finals. In the final  Mooncoin proved too strong for Tullogher prevailing by 3-19 to 3-11.  Well done to Mooncoin on their victory and a return to Intermediate ranks and commiserations to a battling Tullogher Rosbercon side who no doubt will be determined to progress further in 2022. 

Football :
Arising from a proposal at 2021 Congress Kilkenny’s involvement in the British Junior Football championship will cease in 2022 and instead Kilkenny, New York and the two British Junior finalists will qualify for the All Ireland Junior Football Championship semi-finals. This is a disappointment as Kilkenny’s involvement in the British championship has been a very positive and successful one. However it is important that Kilkenny embrace the  change as it provides our only outlet for football at inter-county level. 

JJ Kavanagh & Sons Football Championships 2020 :
The Covid delayed County Senior Football Championship of 2020 was completed on June 19th . Just as in the hurling championship, there was also a four in a row in football for champions Mullinavat who defeated  Mooncoin in the final by 5-7 to 1-4 played in UPMC Nowlan Park on Saturday 19th June .
At Intermediate level  Thomastown defeated Glenmore by 2-13 to 2-7 in the final played in MWH Centre Dunmore on 19th June.
In the Junior Football Championship Graig Ballycallan beat Carrickshock by 2-7 to 0-10 in the final played in John Locke Park on 19th June. 

JJ Kavanagh & Sons Football Championships 2021 :
The 2021 JJ Kavanagh & Sons Senior Football Final  saw the emergence of new champions when Thomastown defeated Mullinavat by 2-6 to 1-5 in the final played on 28th November in UPMC Nowlan Park. Credit to Mullinavat who have been excellent champions over the previous four years representing Kilkenny with pride in the Leinster Club championship. Well done to Thomastown who defeated Railyard and Dicksboro on the way to the final. 

The 2021 JJ Kavanagh & Sons Intermediate  final between O’Loughlin Gaels and Glenmore and Junior final between Windgap and Carrickshock have still to be played at the time of writing.  

AIB Leinster and All Ireland Club Championships:
There were no Leinster or All Ireland AIB Club championships played in the  2020/2021 competition. We wish our county champions in hurling and football all the best in the 2021/2022 competitions. 

Water Breaks:
While the necessity and logic of having water breaks is undisputed they have also become something they were never intended to be, as our games have effectively changed from having two halves to having four quarters.  Many water breaks now see entire management teams and some backroom teams descend on the pitch with tactics boards, players getting rubs and treatment from physios and team talks taking place. In many games the breaks change the momentum of the game. When it comes, the elimination of water breaks will be welcome, mainly as it will signify the end of Covid but also as it will allow our games to revert to the traditional two halves. 

Competitions Control Committee:
Facing the challenges posed by Covid-19 for a second year in a row , the Competition Control Committee, under its Chairperson PJ Kenny again did a fantastic job in delivering on our fixtures’ programme  despite having to again use the completely redrawn format of competitions, having a limited window to play games in and the necessity to keep players, officials and spectators safe while doing so. Huge credit also to the clubs for their co-operation in playing the games on schedule and in providing their grounds as host venues for games ,while keeping their players and those attending games safe . Thanks also to the referees for their role without which we would have no games. 
One very noteworthy fact from this year’s competitions is the increase of over 20% in the number of teams participating in adult competitions since 2018. This appears to be mainly due to the creation of the extra grades at Junior level and it is a very positive development to see more people continue to play our games into adult level. 
Finally on my own behalf and on behalf of all involved in the playing of our competitions I say many thanks to PJ, hard working secretary Dan Kenny and the CCC committee for their excellent work throughout the year.  

 

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS 2021 

Grade  Teams/Results  

Senior Hurling:   Shamrocks Ballyhale 3-19     O’Loughlin Gaels  3-15
Intermediate Hurling:  Glenmore 3-19   St. Lachtain’s  2-9
Junior Hurling:  Mooncoin 3-19  Tullogher Rosbercon 3-11
Junior A Hurling:   Mooncoin 3-21   Young Irelands 0-17
Junior B Hurling:  Dicksboro 3-18   Conahy Shamrocks 2-10
Junior C Hurling:  Fenians 1-14   Piltown 1-12
Junior D Hurling:   Slieverue 3-20   Blacks and Whites 2-16
Junior E Hurling:  Rower Inistioge 1-12  Lisdowney 0-14
Junior F Hurling Dunnamaggin 2-17  Piltown 1-17
Minor A:  Dicksboro 0-22    Tullogher Rosbercon  2-15
Minor B:  Danesfort 0-17     Dunnamaggin  1-10
Minor C : Barrow Rangers 2-11  Graiguenamanagh 1-11
U15 A:  James Stephens  1-17   O’Loughlin Gaels 1-7
U15 B :  Young Irelands 4-10   Graig Ballycallan 2-7
U15 C:  Fenians  5-10   Barrow Rangers 4-6
U13 A:  Erins Own 0-18   Dicksboro 0-18
U13 A1:  Young Irelands 4-10   Graig Ballycallan 2-7 
U13 B:  St. Patrick’s 1-17  Tullogher Rosbercon 2-12
U13 C:  Barrow Rangers 3-7  Mullinavat 0-8
U13 13 aside:  Bennettsbridge  0-5 B lacks & Whites 0-3 

Senior Football Mullinavat Thomastown
Intermediate Football O’Loughlin Gaels Glenmore
Junior Football Carrickshock Windgap
U 15 Football A  James Stephens 3-11  O’Loughlin Gaels 4-3
 

Club Championship Sponsors:
Sincere thanks are extended to our competition sponsors St. Canice’s Credit Union, Michael Lyng Hyundai  Motors, J.J.Kavanagh & Sons, Iverk Produce, Countrystyle Foods, Kilkenny Citreon Honda Centre, Duggan Steel and Permanent TSB for their commitment to our games in Kilkenny. In what was another  difficult year for business, their loyalty to and support of  Kilkenny GAA is much appreciated. I would urge all our members to support our sponsors whenever possible.  

Referees:
It was not possible to train any new referees in 2021 due to Covid. However, thanks to the work of our Referees Administrator Pat Hayes there are ten volunteers ready to undertake training as new referees and this will begin in early 2022.  This is a welcome development. I would call on the six remaining clubs who do not currently provide a referee to redouble their efforts to do so. For the 2021 season we had 45 active referees and due to the compressed nature of the competitions this year there was huge demand for them to take charge of games over a short space of time this autumn. Thanks to all our referees who co-operated so well and played a major role in getting our games played on schedule.
All those attending games will have noticed the new Kilkenny referees jersey being worn by our officials. These are part of an effort by the County Board to support our referees and show appreciation for the work they do. 
Congratulations are extended to Kilkenny referees who are on the National Referees panel, (Sean Cleere and David Hughes) and on the Leinster Referees Panel (Owen Behan, John Dooley, Peter Burke, Ray Byrne and Maurice Flynn).
One final reminder that it is essential for the CCC to have the referee’s report when dealing with disciplinary issues after a game and for club secretaries and club insurance officers to have a referee’s report when submitting an insurance claim. Therefore, I would appeal to all our referees to get their reports in as soon as possible for all games.  

Coiste na nÓg:
I would like to thank Chairperson Willie Dempsey, Secretary Mary Fitzgerald the officers and hard-working committee for their work in organising all of our under age competitions in 2021. It was an extremely challenging year with competitions having to be redrafted and redrawn and a very tight window in which to play games. Just as the adult CCC did, Coiste na nÓg rose to the challenges and again with admirable co-operation from clubs, players and match officials succeeded in organising and running off their competitions successfully while keeping everyone safe. Coiste na nÓg also suffered the sad loss of Committee member and  Registrar Ollie Roche during the year. The sympathy of all the GAA family in Kilkenny is extended to his family. Ar dheis Dé go raibh sé 

Junior Board:
My thanks to the Junior Board which under chairman John Lacey and Secretary Pat Dunphy  and their committee for their work this year in running our Junior championships, Under 19 and Under 21 championships and completing them within schedule despite difficulties. Congratulations to all of the winners who are listed elsewhere in this report and thanks to clubs for their co-operation in fielding teams and hosting games and thanks also to referees for their assistance. At the time of writing the Under 21 championship is commencing. I wish all teams participating the best of luck. 

Cumann na mBunscoileanna and Second Level Schools:
Unfortunately for the second year in succession competitions at both levels fell victim to the pandemic and related restrictions. However teachers in many schools did continue to coach players when it was possible. Encouragingly activity, competitions and games at second level have begun to resume. It is hoped we will see a return of games at Primary level in Spring 2022 

Coaching and Games Development: 
While as in all other areas, activity was curtailed on  the Coaching and Games front, there were still many highlights in 2021. Among them the attendance of over 2650 children at Cúl Camps across 12 venues in the County with 45 full and 90 assistant coaches. The running of 15 Foundation and 1 Award 1 Coaching Course, resulted in approximately 200 newly qualified coaches within the county while 2021 also saw the re-introduction of First year hurling Blitz days. June saw the first Development Squad activity after a 15 month break and activity continued into October and November. Club Under 9 and Under 11 Go Games also resumed with every club in the county participating, some with multiple teams. A most welcome initiative began this Autumn under the direction of GDA Seán Kelly who working with Senior and Junior Hurling Panels in a number of our post primary schools providing Strength and Conditioning and  Athletic Development programmes. 

Kilkenny Coaching Project:
We are all aware that lots of good work is going on in Kilkenny at all levels club, school, development squad and county underage teams. However, there is also a realisation that other counties continue to raise the bar originally set by Kilkenny in this area and that we need to continue to improve our standards accordingly. 

Earlier this year our Coaching and Games Committee unanimously approved a plan entitled the ‘Kilkenny Coaching Project’, This proposed a Director and a Project Management Team to drive this plan forward. We are delighted that Mick Dempsey has agreed to take on the role of Director and also that he has assembled a group with experience and expertise in varied but relevant areas to draw up and implement the plan. Essentially this project will develop a player pathway for Kilkenny which mirrors the National one. The terms of reference of the group include 
Strength and Conditioning Programme at all levels
Hurling Athletic Performance Programme at all levels
Player Welfare to be looked after including areas such as  nutrition, lifestyle and injury treatment.
Record keeping and Data Management
Close liaison between Clubs, Schools, Colleges, Squads and County Under-Age Teams 

The most important and the bedrock of the plan is Coaching. We need to raise the standard of coaching and the standard of coaching sessions. We need to recruit top new coaches where required and continuously educate and improve all coaches. If we do this at development squad level it should permeate to all other levels club and schools. 

There will be a financial cost to implement this plan. But as far as I am concerned, spending money on this is more important than spending money on infrastructure at the moment and the County Board will not be found wanting. 

To me the aim of this project is to develop players of the standard required for inter county hurling not just in terms of athletic development, Strength and Conditioning and skill but as individuals capable of meeting all of the challenges involved. This is no small ask of this Project Team I know,  but one I have every confidence they can meet. 

Camogie:
While Kilkenny were defeated by Cork at the semi-final stage in their attempt to retain the All Ireland senior camogie title they did win the 2021 Littlewoods National League title and also the Tesco Minor All Ireland title while reaching the Intermediate final also. Well done to  the players, managers, selectors, backroom teams and all involved with these teams at all levels.
I would also like to extend a sincere thank you to the Kilkenny Camogie Board officers for their co-operation throughout the year, especially to Chairperson Sheila Norris and her committee and I look forward to working with them in the year ahead. 

Handball: 
Due to it being an indoor game there was little activity on the Handball front for most of the year. However some of the 2020 competitions were played in October when games resumed. Seven Kilkenny players qualified for All-Ireland finals with two capturing a National title. Well done to Amy Brennan (Clough) Under 16 60×30 All Ireland winner and to Emer Barron (Windgap) Under 15 60×30 All Ireland winner. Nationally the new Croke Park Handball Centre continues to be used as a Covid Test Centre while locally work on creating Kell’s Handball Club’s second alley is complete and will prove a great asset. 

Health and Well Being Committee:
This committee under the chairmanship of Carmel Kenny, continued its good work in 2021 launching a Social Media Wellness Campaign which involved prominent GAA and Camogie players and personalities tell how they kept themselves well during Covid lockdown. Attracting over 200,000 views it proved very popular. The Committee also organised a “Ger Moving” campaign  and a “Gambling Awareness Campaign “ during the year while three more Kilkenny clubs, Dicksboro, Shamrocks Ballyhale and Young Irelands achieved Healthy Club status. Thanks to all involved in organising and participating in these initiatives. 

Hearings Committee: 
I would like to express my thanks to Kilkenny Hearings Committee Chairperson Tom Egan, Secretary Eamon Doyle and their committee members for their work in 2021. Because of the  reduced window in which to play competitions  much of the committee’s usual annual workload was condensed into a few months, while in addition there was the necessity to observe Covid 19 restrictions when holding hearings as a result of which all Hearings were held on-line. Many thanks to all individuals, clubs, committees and referees for their co-operation with this. The Committee dealt with regrading and transfer appeals and disciplinary Hearings and as always was scrupulously fair to all while applying the relevant rule or regulation. 

Development Committee :
Our County Development officer  Seamus Reade and his sub committee of John Lanigan, John Byrne, Luke Roche, Pat Nolan and Jim Fennelly once again had a busy but  different year to others as they continued to help clubs deal with the challenges posed by Covid-19. The year began with a series of on-line training modules for Club Officers and  webinars for County Officers. These were well attended and deemed worthwhile by all.  The committee also provided on-line training to Kilkenny clubs in using the Foireann system. Unfortunately the Foireann system is still not as user friendly as it should be and support, when requested is very unsatisfactory. Croke Park is  aware of these problems and it is hoped they will be remedied in 2022. Club developments were not advised unless funding was in place  as applications for grants from the Club Development Fund remained suspended for a second year although a number of clubs have commenced infrastructure developments in 2021 funded through their own resources. As detailed below the role of Development Officer will be changing to that of Planning and Training Officer with a new County Safety and Facilities Officer also being created.  

Special Congress:
While the main focus at Special Congress was on the failure to approve proposals to change the Football Championship format a number of other significant motions were passed. One replaces the current Development Officer with the creation of two roles, a Planning and Training Officer and a Safety and Facilities Officer with a new committee for each also. Both of these are appointed not elected positions. The motion also detailed the scope and terms of reference for each position. Another motion established an Audit and Risk Committee as a mandatory sub-committee of the County Board.These new positions and Committees will come into effect in 2022. 

Income and Expenditure: 
The good news in Treasurer Barry Hickey’s Financial Report to Convention is that, despite a second successive year when fund raising activity was curtailed, the County Board finances show an excess of income over expenditure in the region of €80,000. The continued support of our sponsors is much appreciated and essential while the importance and contribution of the Kilkenny Hurlers Co-Op Draw to our healthy finances cannot be over emphasised. Sincere thanks go to the Treasurer Barry Hickey, Pat Henderson and Caroline Morrissey for all their work in micro managing the County Board finances. 

Kilkenny Hurlers Co-Op Draw:
The long standing  format of five Draws was restored  for the 40 th  Kilkenny Hurlers Draw and yet again it provided an opportunity for clubs and County Board’ to raise funds.There was an excellent take up from many clubs with over 9500 tickets being sold, providing in  the  region of €260,000 much needed income for clubs and approximately €90,000 for the County Board. The work of Geri Hickey and her team who co-ordinate the draw and also our County Treasurer Barry Hickey must  be acknowledged in another successful year for the Draw. 

Players Injury Benefit Fund:
In 2021, due to  loss of Income caused by  Covid and a continuing increase in claims, a proposal was made to suspend the Benefit for Loss of Income from the Players Injury Benefit Fund. This was a major cause of concern for clubs and counties and  agreement was eventually reached and the Benefit was restored, albeit at an additional cost to clubs. That clubs were willing to pay the increase was an indication of how strongly they felt this benefit must be available to our players.  

As regards property insurance and public liability once again I would remind clubs that it is essential they maintain a watchful and responsible look out for potential risks. In this way premiums can be kept down and the trauma of a claim and the loadings that can accrue can be eliminated. With this in mind clubs should always ensure competent planners and contractors are used on all new builds and maintenance work. It is also essential that excluded or prohibited activities do not take place on Club property and that all non GAA users of meetings rooms, indoor halls, function rooms, bars playing fields, walkways, playgrounds, all-weather facilities and gyms have their own insurance in place and that they can produce it. If any doubt exists, it is essential to have cover verified by our Insurers.  The new County Safety and Facilities Officer will be available to assist clubs in the provision of Safety Statements and Risk Assessments. The log of the facilities in each club in the county enables a pro rata spread of the premium based on facilities and risks. Clubs should ensure this list is up to date and all additions or alterations to club facilities need to be notified to UPMC Nowlan Park to ensure all areas are properly covered. Clubs should always contact Ciara Clark in Croke Park for advice before organising any events or one-off activities.  

Glanbia PLC:
Sincere thanks are extended to the Glanbia group through the Groups Managing director Siobhan Talbot and Brian Phelan the CEO of the Global Ingredients Division for their sponsorship of Kilkenny GAA teams at all levels. The long-established partnership brings two major Kilkenny brands to worldwide audiences. Thanks also to Kieran O’Connor and Patricia Barry for their liaison work between both groups. 

UPMC Nowlan Park:
Kilkenny County Board was delighted to enter into a partnership agreement with healthcare provider UPMC in 2020 and this has proved a very beneficial arrangement. The partnership is an excellent fit for Kilkenny GAA as health and wellness are an integral part of UPMC’s mission and are of key importance to Kilkenny GAA also. UPMC provided valuable assistance with Covid protection measures in UPMC Nowlan Park and in MWH Centre Dunmore over the last eighteen months and also with the initiative to invite Health Care workers as guests to the County Final in November, which was well received by all. 

MWH Centre Dunmore: 
We are all aware of the value of MWH Centre Dunmore to Kilkenny GAA as a venue for the playing of games a base for our Development Squads and for our county teams  to train and prepare under floodlights on dark winter nights. Thanks to the work of John Coogan and Kevin McGarry and Seanie Kiely under the watchful eye of Pat Henderson the on-going maintenance of the goalmouths, sanding, Verti draining and watering ensures it is available for all teams in almost all-weather conditions. 

Supporters Clubs: 
Once again our gratitude must be expressed to the Supporters Clubs in Kilkenny, Dublin and Kildare led by John Mackey, Jim Freeman, Eddie Keher, Niall Butler and Dr. Sean Dunne and their committees. The  Individual membership fee of of just €20 and Business Membership provide an opportunity for people near and far to play their part in supporting our county sides. Many of the other fund raising  initiatives undertaken by the clubs were not possible in 2021. However the Dublin Supporters Club Branch did run a successful Golf Classic and the Kilkenny Hurlers Race Day went ahead in Gowran Park Racecourse on Saturday 20th November with a large crowd  present.  Huge thanks to John Mackey and Barry Hickey for their work in organising the day and sourcing sponsors. Thanks also to Eddie Scally and all the Gowran Park team for their efforts in making the day such a success.We must also thank our race sponsors for their support.The Kilkenny commemorative jersey was presented to each sponsor on the day. 

 I also take this opportunity to extend best wishes to Jim Freeman, Secretary of the Kilkenny Supporters Club who is unwell at the moment. I know all of Jim’s many friends in the GAA family will join me in wishing him well.  

Online Ticket Sales:
While the use of on-line ticket sales for admission to GAA games was already being introduced the necessity for it was was advanced with the advent of Covid, as society in general moved away from handling cash for transactions. While there were initial difficulties spectators have become more used to buying their match tickets on-line in advance of arriving at the game. Tickets were sold on-line in advance of all games in UPMC Nowlan Park this year and on Senior County Final day over 95% over of those attending had purchased their ticket in advance of the game. The next step in this process will be the extension of  on-line sales to games outside of UPMC Nowlan Park. This will not be easy and will require planning and consultation with clubs and will take time but it is the future. 

Media and IT:
In a time when we all became increasingly dependent on IT and on the use of media especially social media to communicate I would like to acknowledge the work of our Media and IT Committee especially our PRO Paul Fitzgerald and IT Officer Aodán Ó Ruairc in these areas. The new County Board website has received  a very positive response from the GAA public and continues to be the main source of information for Fixtures, News and all other activities. Social media specially Twitter , which has become our primary social media outlet for disseminating information with a huge number of followers, has become even more essential in keeping GAA followers up to date. 
 

Kilkenny GAA Year Book: 
Despite the difficulties posed by Covid related restrictions the Yearbook  committee under Barrie Henriques, Gerry O’Neill, Pat Henderson, Ned Buggy, Conor Brennan, Tommy Lanigan, Conor Denieffe and Paul Fitzgerald have excelled and produced another top-class yearbook that covers activity at every level in Kilkenny, along with pen pictures, articles, tales of former clubs and heroes and opinion pieces. I have no doubt yet again the 2021 Yearbook is set to be a best seller.  

Coverage of Our Games:
I would like to extend my gratitude to all sections of the media for the coverage afforded to both our club and county teams and games with special thanks to both our local radio stations, local newspapers, photographers, commentators and journalists for their work. At a stage earlier this year when so few people could attend our games the coverage in local media, print and radio was never more valuable as they served as eyes and ears for those at home. 

Streaming:
The streaming of games from UPMC Nowlan Park continued again in 2021 in an arrangement between the County Board and Nemeton. Apart from the income generated  by streaming, it provides a valuable service for those unable to attend games whether for geographical, medical or other reasons. 

Programmes:
Kilkenny is one of the few, if not the only county, to produce programmes covering all  our adult League and Championship matches. Huge credit is due to Liam Dewberry who began producing and organising the selling of these programmes many years ago. As Liam stood down from this task a new arrangement is in place to produce programmes involving the PRO’s of the Senior and Junior Boards Paul Fitzgerald and Mary Morgan,  Val Malone and Paddy Gaule collecting team details , Gerry O’Neill doing the orientation of the programme, Seamus Reade organising distribution and the clubs hosting the games selling  the programmes and in the process raising some money for club funds. The return of the  full colour productions, containing Junior as well as Senior and Intermediate teams was much  welcomed by supporters. The O’Loughlin Gaels club continues to produce and sell top quality programmes for County semi-finals, finals and Allianz League games in UPMC Nowlan Park, while it should be noted that Coiste na nÓg, through its PRO Patrick O’ Flynn produces programmes for its championship finals.  Credit to everyone involved for the production of all of these programmes at every level which are the envy of many other counties. 

Cultúr: 
Covid limited activity in this area , as it did many others, and there was no local Scór or Gaeltacht scholarships or opportunity to meet and work with club Irish Officers. Once again we hope for better times in 2022.
Ár mbuíochas do Shean Breathnach de bharr an méid oibre a dheanann sé ar son CLG agus an Ghaeilge. Táimid go léir ag súil go mbeidh rudaí i bhfad níos fearr i 2022. 

Children’s Officer Report:
It was great during the year to see Croke Park report that Kilkenny  County Board and all Kilkenny clubs had their updated Child Safety Statement in place and Risk Assessment in place. Great credit is due to all clubs and especially to  Children’s officer Caroline Clifford for all of the  work in this area. It is also good to note that all our Coaches, Cúl Camp Coaches and  Referees are fully compliant under the Children’s Act.  I am glad to see a change proposed in our Bye Laws allowing that the Children’s Officer position can be made exempt from the five year rule on terms of officerships. This is the only position, along with Treasurer, where this can be done and I would urge delegates at Allunal Convention to support it. 

Give Respect Get Respect:
Give Respect-Get Respect is an awareness campaign that seeks to ensure that Gaelic Games are promoted and played in a positive, fair and enjoyable manner and where players, coaches, spectators and referees give and get respect from each other. This applies at all levels regardless of age, role, competition or ability. We are lucky in Kilkenny that almost all of our games are played in this spirit. However there were a couple of occasions in the past year where behavior of players, mentors or supporters was not what it should be.  We appreciate the time and effort put in by players training and playing our games, the work of mentors preparing and looking after teams and supporters who come and support their teams but no-one ,whatever their role may be, has the right to verbally abuse or threaten others at a game. Therefore, it is essential that everyone subscribes to the Give Respect-Get Respect campaign and behaves responsibly at games. For the good of all involved but especially the children who play our games we must do our best to ensure a positive and friendly GAA. 

Bereavements: 
The sympathy of the entire GAA family is extended to any of our County and Divisional Board members, Club Officers, referees, supporters and players who were bereaved by the loss of a family member or friend during the year. Their passing will be long remembered. We remember in particular former Kilkenny great Liam Chunky O’Brien who passed away during the year. In a wonderful career Liam won 4 All Ireland titles and seven Leinster Championships with Kilkenny.    Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha go léir. 

Buíochas
As Rúnaí Choiste Chontae Chill Chainnigh I would like to express my sincere thanks to all involved in the GAA in Kilkenny. To Chairperson Jimmy Walsh who never ceases to work in his role, in constant contact with every level of the organisation, as he strives always to consolidate and improve Kilkenny GAA. Vice Chairperson PJ Kenny who fills an essential role in his efficient way as Fixtures Chairman, keeping the most important part of our organisation, our games going. Treasurer Barry Hickey, whose vast experience and advice is often drawn on, as he looks after the complex income and expenditure portfolio. To our Central Council representative, Ned Quinn, an inspiration to us all, a man whose talents have been recognised and utilised at the top of our organisation and a great support and source of advice. Paul Fitzgerald, who does an excellent job as PRO, Seamus Reade, our Event Controller and County Development Officer who is so capable and efficient in these positions and to the multi-talented Pat Henderson for his work across so many areas of our County Board. Also, to our diligent hard-working Leinster Council representatives Val Malone and Willie Dempsey who are joined on the Management Committee by Pat Henderson, Development Officer Seamus Reade, Paddy Gaule and Children’s officer Caroline Clifford, all of whom find time to contribute at Management level in addition to their own busy County Board roles. To the Officers of the Junior Board, Coiste na nÓg and the members of the County Board and its sub committees. Also, to the officers of Cumann na mBunscoileanna, Handball and Camogie Boards for their great work for the games. A sincere word of thanks is extended to the officers of all our clubs and county management teams for their work at their local level and together at county level. Finally, to Caroline Morrissey, the public face of Nowlan Park whose multi-tasking keeps the show going quietly and efficiently and whose help and experience are such an asset to me in the Secretary’s position. 
It is a huge honour to be secretary of Kilkenny GAA, to be involved with so many great people who work to promote our games, our clubs and our county. 
In conclusion I wish to thank my club O’Loughlin Gaels and most especially my wife Teresa and children, Ciarán and Seoighe for their help and constant support.   

Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir. 
Ar aghaidh linn le chéile……..Cill Chainnigh Abú ! 

Conchúr Denieffe,  
Rúnaí Choiste Chill Chainnigh. 

 

 

Chairman’s Address 2021    

As stated in my opening remarks, it is a privilege and honour, to welcome all of you, the club delegates, officers and guests to our County Convention.  

For the second time, we are regretfully online, to review the past year and plan the activities for Kilkenny GAA for the year ahead. 

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Covid 

Last year we looked at Covid 19 as a once in a one hundred year flood, and now there has have been two of them in succession.  

Covid has brought many changes over the past 22 months with a lot of them being beneficial. 
The message is, it is still here, and, I ask everyone to be aware of the dangers, of it spreading in your clubs and communities. 

During it, there have been less personal interactions, and our conversations have become shorter and snappier.  

As a result a phone call, to recall old times, a card, or a call by visit may help combat the isolation and loneliness for many of our members would be most welcome. 

During the battle with Covid, we have been well served, by our resilience, flexibility, personal responsibility, Community Spirit and our Frontline workers.  

However, the more strain that is placed on a chain will eventually see some of the links break and we need to be constantly aware of that happening.  

And just to add, I recently met an elderly lady, seeking directions, on her pre-Christmas visitations to the isolated graveyards of her former friends and relations.  

She, I quickly found out, is an avid follower of the games, and these are the people, that we must support and not let down  

 

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They say, it has been found after a presentation, that listeners will only remember 50% of what was said, and by the end of a week it could be less than 10%.  

As a result I will focus on a few important topics and someone may recall a snippet or statistic from it 

 

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Playing Activities Inter County 

On the inter-county playing fields, it has been a very good yearThe senior and minor hurler’s success under Brian Cody and Richie Mulroney saw them retaining their Leinster titles with the seniors sharing the League.  

We congratulate the achievements of our Handballers and those of the Camogie sides who captured the previous years All Ireland Senior title, with the minors winning this year’s one and the Seniors adding the League.  

I congratulate the efforts of all our counties representatives, and extend to them, the very best wishes for the year ahead.  

Clubs 

As we all know, it has been another challenging year in the clubs and the arrival of the vaccination program was a welcome step.  

It has resulted in more players and teams being involved and getting more games played. 

For that I sincerely thank and compliment PJ Kenny the CCC’s and everyone involved at all levels for their great effort  

 

 


 Some of the other highlights during the year to me were

 

  • The progress with appointing New club GPO’s in January 2022 is very positive  
  • The commencement of the 2020 Covid deferred U19 county squad under Peter O’Donovan is most welcome 
  • The combined Post Primary team, created to assist our schools, that are under pressure to field, under Lughaigh O’Néill is another  
  • The attendance of Club Officers, at some of our County Board meetings to discuss the  County Development Plan and new Club GPO’s was excellent and will be continued 
  • The creation of the New County Website is a gem and continues to be a work in progress with great potential 
  • The fitting out of a new Gym, the appointment of our new minor manager Niall Bergin and the on-going Coaching and Games and Squads activities are other highlights 
  • The county trials resuming at all levels have been widely welcomed 
  • So also was the creation of the combined full colour weekend match programs, as was the additional income that was shared by the hosting Clubs. For that I thank Gerry O’Neill and his team  
  • Under Finance improved sponsorship deals and the Transition to cashless gates in UPMC Nowlan Park are positive steps 
  • As is also the review of the Bye Laws to streamline and improve the running of the County Board
     
  • In totally new areas, The Geographic Information System Mapping project with TUD (The Technological University in Dublin), to create club-parish maps, using the census population figures, the town’s lands, the small electoral areas and the player’s numbers from Foireann is full of potential. 
    On completion thanks to the work of Seamus Reade it will be a valuable tool for the planning for our games for the future.  
  • Also the Michael Dempsey led Coaching Project team, is another most welcome development, whose report and findings to our Runaí Conor Denieffe are eagerly awaited.  
  • Between the latter two, it may, in time, we have to look at an alternative championship format or System to maximise the number of players getting regular top level adult club competition. 

As one of the smaller counties, we have not got a great pool of players, and have some clubs struggling with numbers.  

In such a scenario, it is difficult for their top players, to keep in stride with the athletic requirements, for lining out for the modern day county teams.  

On the reverse side 
 

  • During the Covid fallout, our handballer’s activities suffered, whilst our county Junior Football and Primary school pupils are now without games for two years.  

The consequences of this at the starting juvenile level in our clubs is crucial and each club has a serious role to play with    

  • Elsewhere Covid saw our Cultural activities in Scór disappear in the past year 
  • Whilst all strands of the organisation in Handball, Camogie and LGFA use the UPMC Nowlan Park meeting facilities, there is always potential for more co-operation. 
    As a result I thank all their outgoing officers for their work for the games in Kilkenny. Particularly in Camogie where the biggest change has been with (Shelia Norris, Teresa Aylward, Michael Ryan and Aoife Lanigan) and I welcome the new leaders in each of the boards. 

The appearance of the first camogie player Denise Gaule as a Year Book pull out poster is most welcome 

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Personal Thoughts and Observations

Last year, I outlined some Personal Thoughts and Observations and now I will do the same. 

Good interactions are an integral part of life, they can be so beneficial and they can also be so negative.  

We are well served in the communications area; however there are two items of concern, that appear to be growing …….  

Previously, I highlighted the concerns about the availability and the use of drugs. They are still illegal, and the use of them is initially a personal choice. 

The following, are not personal choices, and are more anti-social and dangerous than drugs, or of, my pet hate the dumping of rubbish, or throwing it out of the car window 

The first, is the growing level, of negative online comments, across all aspects of life. 

The comments, in our case are intended, or presented, as if to be showing an interest in the GAA, its games and activities. 
Why, individuals, decide to use a false name, to hide their identity in the cyber darkness, and pass negative comments defy me. 

 To me, having an interest in the games, and having observations whether good or bad, should surely mean, at least talking or picking up the phone to someone, dropping a text or email, to share their thoughts, and discuss and progress their opinions. 

The expressions of, “the Hurler on the ditch” or the “man in the bar, or in the car” is an integral part of our games culture. They have always, put a face and name to their comments, and have to be admired for that.  

However, those who have not got the balls, to put their name behind their online opinion, have caused major difficulties. As a result of them, we have all come across people, who pay too much attention to online comments, and others who are very upset by them.  

I personally know of great volunteers at all levels, clubs and communities, who have become disillusioned and frustrated by the tone, sniping and comments, that may be not personal to them, but are on their roles, their time, efforts and commitment.  

To me, volunteers who put up their hands are the real Heroes.  

They do so, often knowing their teams, clubs and counties may never win a championship, may never get to play in UPMC Nowlan Park, Croke Park or their County Grounds and it does not stop their enthusiasm and commitment. 

As my father would have said “If you have nothing good to say, say nothing”.   

My New Year’s wish is, if you have an opinion good or bad on club or county, its development, funding etc. etc. make a call to, or rock down to your local club and offer a hand.  

Then throw away the online mask, and become a member, as there is a welcome, and a role for everyone, of every age.  

You will then find, there is so much great work going on, So why not be part of it, and become a real life GAA Hero. 

The second, is a word I knew very little of when I was playing, Sledging, or whatever it is now called, and it comes in many forms.  

Sadly, from calls I have received, some of our player’s both young and old, have had to take personal abuse on the field of play. In addition, in some cases it has continued afterwards online.  

For them, the subject comes under many headings, and is never complimentary, with the object being, to destroy initially the player’s concentration on the field of play.  

When it is heard by others, and supported by inaction, or carried on afterwards, it can, and has destroyed confidence, and self-esteem, far beyond, what may ever have been intended.  

On field abuse, will always be the subject of two opinions, of What was said, and What was heard.  

As a result, the attitude of the offended of “leaving it be” and “what can we do without making it worse” is only ignoring and endorsing it.  

In some cases players and families have been lost to the games. 

Thankfully, the numbers are very small, but the trend to me is increasing.  

Because of this, it must be tackled immediately, by everyone, who is in charge, at every level in the teams, and in the clubs as soon as they become aware of it.   

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Going Forward 

Recently, we had a National Risk and Governance Audit and it covers many, if not all aspects of the GAA. They include Finance, Accountability, Committees, Succession and GDPR.  

Over recent years, succession, shadowing and facilitation has been discussed, for the growing workload, for both club and county board volunteers.  

A reluctance to change, what are seen as successful ways allied to Covid restrictions, has delayed and deferred decisions. 

As a result, the time is imminent to update our Strategic Plan, whilst bearing in mind that the Kilkenny model, is totally reliant on dedicated volunteers, that provide extraordinary results, and value for money. 

Under GDPR, Personal Data is very sensitive, and the advice, whether for children or adults, is to keep it to the very minimum and to avoid any opportunity to be inadvertently compromised thorough the multi collation of it.  

Thankfully the GAA has the Systems to eliminate its collection, and there is now no need, for the duplication of information.    

Elsewhere, our pre Covid Testing Centre, IT Audit was a huge step forward and it needs to be completed immediately.
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Kilkenny 

I have always believed hurling is one of Kilkenny’s greatest brands, and with almost full attendances at our games, those streamed were followed in 30 countries and 28 counties. 
Who were the missing four counties, you may ask, and why, is a question for another day. 

The added reputation, of UPMC Nowlan Park has helped bring Concerts, the recent participation in the Kilkenny Day, and a number of school and community events. 

In addition, a look at tourism feasibility and as a potential venue for Yulefest events, though not deemed currently successful is a step in the right direction  

Last year’s, Kilkenny County Council plans, to have a week to celebrate our GAA, Heritage and Heroes at Easter, to help restart the hospitality and business sectors also fell foul to Covid.   

Having, had the opportunity, as Chairperson of the County Board to work with the County Council Covid Support and also the Kilkenny Tourism team, I invite everyone if the potential celebration of our Hurling Heritage and Heroes re-occurs to get actively on board. 

We are a relatively small county, and we all depend on each other. 

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Thanks 

Covid too has been hard on our Sponsors, Partners and advertisers, and we thank them for their on-going loyalty, and commitment Thanks also to the media CRKC, KCLR, Kilkenny People Advertiser, and those involved in the clubs, who all played a key role promoting our games, and keeping the supporters updated. Also to congratulate our PRO Paul on his recent wedding to Claire that I forgot at our previous meeting.

Speaking of brilliant supporters, I thank our Kilkenny and Dublin Supporters Clubs, and ask you all to offer a thought, for Jim Freeman who is very ill at this time.
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Before I finish, I wish to acknowledge our club officer’s and there are many changes every year. Without this band of volunteers like players, supporters, referees, coaches, parents and teachers etc. we would have no sporting heritage, structures, facilities or games.

Tonight I will mention just two as representatives of them Margaret O’Hanlon the long serving Runaí in O’Loughlin Gaels and the longer serving Mary Rocket in Slieverue who have both stepped down after colossal work for their clubs and county. 
Mary is the daughter of All Ireland Senior Hurling winner Dick, and over generations as Runaí and CEO of her Slieverue she surely deserves one too. Mary has been a great supporter to everyone, and I wish both of you and all other officers the very best in the future. 
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I now wish to extend míle buíochas, to my fellow officers Conor, PJ, Barry, Paul, and Seamus who also assisted in setting up tonight’s meeting. Also the members of the Finance and Management Committee and the County Board. Especially the experience assistance and all of the work of Caroline Morrissey in the office, my own patient family, and all who have been involved in any way in the organisation and playing our games during the year.  

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Finally, as we keep one eye on keeping up the defence against Covid, and the other on the new Split season, that commences with the Walsh Cup in just a couple of weeks, we look forward to continually improving our GAA activities with the aim of reaching the Promised Land 

With that I wish everyone a good night a great Christmas and a safe, healthy and happy New Year  

Go raibh míle maith agat agus leanaigí oraibh le chéile 

 

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Snippets from the CONVENTION FLOW

A Chairde, as Chairperson of Coiste Chontae Cill Chainnigh, I would like to extend a céad mile fáilte do gach duine to our second on line County Convention. This, is not what we expected, following our joyful return to our (Hybrid) county board meetings in Nowlan Park in September. 

However the show goes on regardless  

This is the last formal event of the year’s activities and follows our Handball, our Junior Board and the Bord na nÓg annual gatherings. Each has been very successful in these challenging times and I compliment their Chairpersons Michael O’Shea, John Lacey, Willie Dempsey and all involved in them.  

I know that in true GAA terms, their games are continuing and the planning of next year’s work has already commenced 

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Tonight I am joined in UPMC Nowlan Park by the Boards main Officers Runaí Conor, Vice Chairperson PJ, Cisteoir Barry, PRO Paul Development Officer Seamus and online by our Auditor Niall O’Gorman  

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Now as we commence the business of convention, I invite you to observe a moment’s silence, for all who were with us this time last year.  

It has been a tough time on many of our friends, past players, and the families of members and colleagues. 

In particular where there have been bereavements where the traditional Irish and the GAA family sharing of grief and celebrating a well lived life has been restricted.  
May they Rest in Peace. …Go nDéanaigh Dia Trocaire ar do anam.

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We will now go to the business of Convention and you will have noticed the photo of the fine statue of Dick Drug Walsh in Mooncoin on tonight’s booklet cover.  

This reflects the on-going work of every club in the county in the recognition of our heritage, the promotion of the games and the development of facilities. Despite Covid, our clubs have led the way in supporting their Communities, who have in turn supported the clubs to allow them to continue and thrive  and I congratulate all involved and wish you the very best in the year ahead. 

I also congratulate Shamrocks, Glenmore, Mooncoin, Thomastown, O’Loughlin Gaels and Carrickshock on their main Hurling and Football Championship wins and wish the Shamrocks, Mooncoin, and  O’Loughlin Gaels the very best in their on-going inter county club campaigns. Also Eoin Murphy on his recent All Star award 

 

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I wish to thank Conor for his most comprehensive report that gives us only a very small snapshot of the organisation of games and activities at all levels of Kilkenny GAA and also in UPMC Nowlan Park and the MWHire Centre. 

I thank all of the Committees for their work and reports. Also the delegates for representing your clubs both in person and online, for stewarding and for raising and sharing your ideas and suggestions. I would ask you to bring all of the reports to your committee meetings invite your relevant officer to browse them and see how they can help improve the relevant area for next year. 

I wish to compliment Barry for his great and diligent work in an excellent report in the shorter Financial Year that once again presents a working profit. To deal with such a turnover requires a lot of work and I thank everyone involved in our boards, supporters clubs and our many sponsors and advertisers  

 

 

 

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