November 29th ‘11
The Monaghan County Camogie Convention took place in the Westenra Hotel Monaghan on Monday night last and was well attended by all clubs, Kieran Kearney Administration Manager Ulster Camogie Council and Ger Gribben Regional Development Co-ordinator For North Leinster/South Ulster were also in attendance. Geraldine Clarke, Outgoing Chairperson opened the meeting by welcoming everyone to the 2011 Convention and after the general formalities delivered her Chairpersons Address :
“A chairde Gael, fáilte roimh gach duine anseo anocht agus gabhaim buíochas libh agus le bhur gclubanna as ucht an tacaíocht agus an sár-obair ar son Camógaiochta i rith na bliana.
2011 was another busy year – a year of achievements and progress in some areas, and a year when deficiencies were apparent in other areas.
Is é an cluiche féin afách atá ag ceartlár an Chumainn, mar sin déantar comhgháirdeachas ar dtús leis na himreoirí uilig, na buaiteoirí, oiliúnaithe agus riarthóiri a bhí páirteach ins na comórtais.
To have retained the Máire Ní Chinnéide Cup for a second successive year was a great achievement. All the more remarkable given that the first half of the year was marked by unrest and poor match outcomes from our premier players. The fact that 3 of the Ulster Championship matches were played on Saturdays when so many of our players are engaged in part or full-time employment also had negative repercussions. However, the arrival of a new trainer, Paul Monahan, at the end of June, ignited the county passion again and with Malachy Treanor at the helm there was only one route from then on – upwards. Monaghan’s defeat of Wicklow on August 28th in the All-Ireland Junior ‘B’ Championship final was clinical and decisive and the celebrations that followed were well-deserved by all concerned. I would like to place on record my thanks to Malachy and Paul for their whole-heartedness in respect of the county team. Thanks also to the players themselves who displayed great commitment and tenacity in what were sometimes very trying situations. I want to particularly single out team captain, Siobhan McKenna, whose endless supply of optimism especially in the earlier part of the year, earned her enormous respect from players and management alike, and her on-field leadership was second to none.
2012 promises to be another challenging year for our county players. Not only have we been promoted to Junior ‘A’ status but somewhat frustratingly 3 out of our 5 championship matches are scheduled for Saturdays. This is very annoying especially as Croke Park had been made aware of the difficulties we have with Saturday games. I appeal therefore to every club to provide as many players as possible to the county management team for selection as depth in the panel in 2012 could mean the difference between fielding and not fielding never mind winning or not winning!
My final thanks in relation to the county team is to the Inniskeen Club who very generously sponsored the meal in Concra Golf Club following our All-Ireland victory. Hopefully they are setting a benchmark for the other clubs to follow!!
The potential of our under-age county teams failed to be fully fulfilled again this year, although the U-16’s reached the Ulster Shield Final in February only to be defeated by Tyrone. Similarly Donegal brought the U-14 championship hopes to an end at the semi-final stage in August. On Easter Monday the U-14 panel participated in a day long Blitz in Darver, Co Louth – an event they enjoyed immensely. However there is still need for much more co-operation in respect of our underage county panels to ensure that all young players who are playing within the county are actively encouraged to train and compete so that the best possible teams go forward from Monaghan into Ulster and elsewhere. Mo bhuíochas do Mháire Ní Ghrianáin agus Máire Ní Mhurchú as ucht an tacaíocht agus an cabhair a thúg siad do na foirne éagsúla.
One underage All-Ireland title which must be acknowledged is that emphatically claimed by the Clontibret U-14 ‘Camán and Run’ relay team who participated in the inaugural event in Croke Park on the same day as the All-Ireland Camogie Finals in September. This was an unforgettable, albeit nerve-wracking, experience for the girls but they truly did their club and county proud. Well done Niamh, Sinéad, Hannah and Ríoghnach.
At club level Clontibret claimed the double this year defeating Castleblayney in both the Westenra Arms Senior Championship final and Jack’s Bar League final. They then went on to defeat Thomas Clarke’s (Dungannon) of Tyrone, and St Paul’s of Antrim to reach the final of the Bridie McMenamin Ulster Junior championship, eventually played in November, only to be thwarted by Castletara of Cavan on a day when they played the better camogie yet conceded vital scores. No one was more disappointed at failing to bring an Ulster title back to Monaghan than the players themselves as it is something they know is long overdue. However, congratulations to Clontibret, and hopefully, reaching this final will set a new standard for next year’s club champions.
Castleblayney retained the senior Blitz title at the expense of Clontibret in April and in congratulating them I wish also to thank the McElroy family for their sponsorship of a set of medals for this competition.
Comhgháirdeachas le Inis Caoin who won the Louth senior League and to Clontibret who defeated St Kevin’s in the Louth U-14 League final.
Castleblayney and Clontibret U-14 panels thoroughly enjoyed and benefitted from their participation in Féile na nGael in Galway/Clare at the end of June.
Gabhtar buíochas to the members of the Competitions Sub-Committee – Aisling McGeeney, Lorraine McKenna, Dympna Kerr and Noeleen McBride – who worked diligently and efficiently throughout the year to facilitate and ensure the completion of our competitions. They received terrific support from Arlene especially in relation to sourcing referees.
Finance and fundraising was very much on the agenda throughout the year and some very worthwhile initiatives were undertaken including seeking sponsorship for our competitions, contacting ‘diasporas’ abroad and ‘Taste of the World’ in the Glencarn Hotel. While these met with varying degrees of financial success what emerged, more worryingly, is an attitude among our club members that fundraising is by and for the County Executive and doesn’t require a whole-hearted approach by players or non-playing members. Let me hit that notion firmly on the head and outline how every cent raised goes directly back to developing the game at club and county level, meeting the day-to-day costs of running the organisation which are as high for 4 clubs as they would be for 14, equipping our county players and ensuring they have access to the best training facilities available.
Not one Executive member receives personal expenses despite the hours they commit to county affairs, in addition to the work they do for their clubs. So those club members who take a ‘hands-off’ (or even worse, a ‘hands-out’) approach to county fundraising need to be sharply reminded that it is a collective exercise from which everyone ultimately benefits. Clubs disliked the financial levy that was imposed some years ago however, it looks like we may have to revert to this if the response to fund-raising is not more pro-active.
Táimid go mór faoi chomaoin ag ostán ‘Westenra Arms’, ‘Jack’s Bar’ Tigh Damhnait agus leis na h-urraithe eile a bhí againn an bhlian seo.
Mention previously of the Executive leads me to acknowledge a small, but marvellous, group of people who have been the mainstay of the Association here in the county, not just for the past year, but in some instances for the past … well, let’s just say ‘many years’.
Arlene McGeeney assumed the role of Runaí two years ago, presenting herself as a novice. However she has proven herself to be an outstanding administrator who has a great grasp of camogie rules and structures and effortlessly acts as a conduit for camogie affairs whether she is ensconced in Inniskeen or on a runway in Sweden. In addition to her secretarial duties she also this year administered in the area of finance, along with Maretta and Ann, and here again proved herself to be competent and adroit. You, the club members owe a great debt of gratitude to Arlene for her efforts on your behalf and I wish to place on record my admiration and thanks to you, Arlene.
We depend on the media to bring our game to the general public and thanks to Maretta’s relentless work, the camogie section in the Northern Standard has become a staple feature. Maretta, week-after-week, regardless of whether there was action on the field of play or not, committed to providing those all-important column inches – no mean task. In addition, she and Ann McKenna attended Ulster Council meetings on behalf of the Board this past number of years – not an enviable task!! As an officer who is also ineligible to assume office tonight as a result of the new rules, I wish to thank you Maretta for the enormous contribution you have made to the development of camogie in Monaghan over many years and in a number of roles. Your integrity and honesty have been among your greatest assets and it is small wonder you are hugely respected throughout both the county and province.
We appreciate the coverage given by the Northern Standard, their photographers Northern Sound Radio, Monaghan GAA, especially Seamus McQuillan, and the editors of other publications such as the Hogan Stand.
Ann McKenna completes the trio of outgoing officers ineligible for election under Rule3.7. Like Maretta, Ann has simply always been around – sleeves rolled up, ready to take on whatever task needed doing, often without even being asked. Her astute head for figures and numbers benefitted the Board for many years and as a delegate to Ulster Council she represented Monaghan’s camogie interests fearlessly. Like Maretta, she is very much in tune with grass-root thinking and always kept players welfare to the fore in discussions and decision-making. I thank you Ann, on the Board and clubs behalf, for your constant support and commitment to Monaghan camogie over many years.
Kate Deasy, as Minutes Secretary, exemplifies the ideal in relation to taking officer-ship on the Board. Kate works quietly and efficiently at her chosen task – minute taking – but plays a vital role in the chain of responsibility. Imagine if every club had a Kate here this evening willing to shoulder a small but important part of the Board’s duties, then the notion of any of us being in office for 20 years would never take hold. Many thanks to you Kate, for your valuable contribution over the past 2 years and here’s to two more!
As a new-comer to the Board last year, Malachy Trainor, as Oifigeach na bPaistí, has been a welcome and insightful officer. He brings with him a passion for all things Gaelic and a working knowledge of the GAA which he has brought to bear on our discussions and deliberations. It is also heartening to see Malachy allow his name go forward for other Officer-ships this year – hopefully a sign that he is intent on remaining involved with camogie for another year or two. Go raibh míle maith agat, a Mhalachaí.
The Greenan duo of Catherine (Cláraithoir) and Marie (Oifigeach Forbartha) has spanned the generation gap and represented all facets of the camogie spectrum. In Catherine, the Board has had an impartial and diligent Registrar who simply got on with the job without any fuss and contributed both verbally and perhaps more importantly, practically, to the running of the Board’s affairs. This type of quiet solidarity is invaluable and I thank you Catherine for your work.
Marie was appointed Development Officer when the new position came onstream last year. As well as meeting with Gerard Gribben on occasions, I think her real impact has been in terms of coaching the U-14 county panel during the past year – an area where she seems most comfortable. Hopefully Marie, you will continue to exercise your talents as a coach with the underage players at county level for many more years and on behalf of the Board I again thank you.
The workload of the Board could not be executed without the help of many other people prepared to give their time to us whenever needed so to all those people – administrators in clubs, referees, coaches, mentors, supporters and others – ‘Míle buíochas libh agus go raibh luach saothair agaibh’
Is mór ar fad againn tacaíocht Chumann Lúthchleas Gael a chuireann na hionaid ar fail dúinn. A particular word of gratitude to Monaghan GAA and especially Emmet Flanagan for his co-operation and good humour when our county teams use Cloghan. That same co-operation and humour may be needed by all parties when we seek to re-negotiate the large sum of money we must pay annually to the GAA for use of what is undeniably, a fine facility. However having reached the point that we can barely afford to use it anymore, there somehow seems to be a contradiction in terms of the image of the ‘GAA family’ that is so vaunted.
To those who were bereaved during the year the Board extends its prayers and sympathy. I particularly wish to acknowledge the wonderful support my own family once again received on the death of Dad in late June. It was deeply appreciated by our entire family.
To those who enjoyed success or the realisation of an ambition, savour the moment and build on it. Continued happiness and health to all, but in particular, to two hard-working members of the Competitions Sub-Committee, Aisling and Lorraine, who got married in August and November respectively. Congratulations also to Sharon McQuillan who also ‘tied the knot’. We wish you and your new husbands many happy and productive years of togetherness!
Finally it has been a privilege for me to make some contribution to the development of the game of camogie here in Monaghan – a game I feel so passionate about – over the past 20 years. In the various positions I have held – Chairperson, Secretary, Fixtures Secretary, Registrar, Vice-Chairperson and PRO – I have always endeavoured to do, and be, the best I could in the interests of the Association and the game. Hopefully the idealism that inspired the founding members of the Association in 1904 will energise this generation and ensure the continuity of our unique and wonderful game. “
Due to a change in the Official Rule 3.7, Officers who have served 10 years or more can not be re instated on the Board, which in Monaghan’s case means that Geraldine Clarke, Maretta Sherry and Anne Mc. Kenna cannot seek re election.
Arlene Mc Geeney continued to deliver an excellent Secretary’s report followed by a detailed report on the Financial affairs of the Board.
Maretta Sherry then gave an indepth report on Public Relations and Malachy Trainor delivered an exemplary Managerial address.
Election of Officers then took place and Malachy Trainor was deemed elected as the new Chairperson of the County Board . He will also assume the role of County Team Manager with Arlene Mc. Geeney unopposed as Treasurer. Nomination forms for outstanding positions will be sent to the Clubs and must be returned before the January Meeting
“Player of the Year”
Malachy Trainor announced that Siobhan Mc. Kenna, had been chosen as the 2011 “Player of the Year” not alone for her 110% commitment and skills on the field but her Leadership qualities as well.
Malachy concluded by thanking all those who nominated him and paid a special tribute to his predecessor Geraldine Clarke who he said “would be a hard act to follow” He finished with a prayer for all deceased members.