Louth GAA

'We just ploughed on during the wettest February on record' - anger at Louth GAA fixtures

Louth GAA

Caoimhín Reilly, at Darver Centre of Excellence

Reporter:

Caoimhín Reilly, at Darver Centre of Excellence

Email:

caoimhin.reilly@dundalkdemocrat.ie

'We just ploughed on during the wettest February on record' - anger at Louth GAA fixtures

Fixture concerns were again debated at March’s County Board meeting with Sean O’Mahonys’ Pat O’Brien vocal on the issue of pitches and their unavailability.

Fixture concerns were again debated at March’s County Board meeting with Sean O’Mahonys’ Pat O’Brien vocal on the issue of pitches and their unavailability.

The Point Road club’s chairman, who spoke of his concerns at length during the February gathering, said that “we just ploughed on during the wettest February on record” - a point which was rejected by CCC chief Seán McClean, who alluded to the number of games, at first and second team levels, which had been postponed.

Mr O’Brien recalled 2001, when the foot and mouth disease prevented club football from getting underway until the end of April, saying that the campaign was still finished in a timely manner.

He also questioned the suitability of playing so many games on Darver’s all-weather surface and asked how many injuries it had caused.

The answer, formally, being that there were none.

And then debate unfolded around the fixing of minor league matches for this weekend and how clubs were going to host considering the state of pitches countywide. Glyde Rangers’ Patsy Reid interjected here, saying it was impossible to cut or line surfaces at present.

St. Nicholas’ Jim McQuillan branded the ‘winter leagues’ “a waste of time” and said the €150 fee for use of Darver under floodlights was “ludicrous”, given “it takes 75 €2 lotto tickets to pay for”.

He said clubs are paying in thousands to clear the Centre’s debt so they shouldn’t have to fork out anything further in order to use it.

Mr O’Brien had earlier questioned the fairness involved in the fee-paying process, with O’Mahony’s having played all their adult matches so far this year at Darver, at a cost of €150 per night if they were the home team.

Chairman Peter Fitzpatrick said the pricing would be looked at, at which point Na Piarsaigh’s Stephen Murphy became involved, requesting to know if, as had been promised at the previous meeting, the rent cost would be reduced.

The top table said it had, from €200 last year, but Mr Murphy insisted €150 was the fee in 2019, as per 2020. Mr Fitzpatrick committed to looking into the query ahead of the April sitting.

Meanwhile, county treasurer Aidan Berrill revealed that, as of March 2, one club hadn’t registered and six were still to pay their registration dues, with the respective outfits’ fixtures set to be withdrawn, at all grades, until the issue has been resolved.

Affiliation emails, he added, were circulated by secretary Bob Doheny in early January and yet 14 clubs were still to submit their accounts and 12 hadn’t affiliated their juvenile teams. Again, Mr Berrill said, failure to do so would lead to matches being postponed and points forfeited.