East Waterford GAA Convention 2018
An increase of almost €7,000 in gate receipts was the standout financial figure revealed at last Wednesday’s East Waterford GAA Convention for 2018, which was held at the St Saviours Clubhouse in Ballybeg.
Addressing a healthy turnout of delegates, Eastern Board Chairperson Michael Wadding said their improved financial position “was very pleasing to report. This enables the Board to fully support our County Board, City League, Walsh Park and other worthwhile projects”.
Regarding the redevelopment of Walsh Park ), Michael Wadding stated: “As you are all aware, it is presently going through the planning process, and hopefully work can start on the project as soon as possible in 2019. In recent times there has been some negative press about the redevelopment of the venue. We as a Board fully support the refurbishment of Walsh Park, and I urge all the Gaels of this division and county to positively back it as well. Whether you’re at work, home or generally conversing on the street, we most proactively show our commitment and stand together to ensure that the works are fully completed.”
On the topic of referees, a matter naturally close to the heart of the Roanmore clubman, who took charge of the 2010 All-Ireland Senior Final, the Chair noted: “Our loyal band of referees continue to give us assistance whenever needed but we know that new blood is needed. Quite simply, our age profile is not getting any younger. Once again, I appeal to all the clubs, especially the ones not providing us with a referee, to rectify this situation. There will be a new referee foundation course taking place in late January 2019 and I look forward to engaging with those who have not got a referee.”
Referring to referees in his final report as East Waterford GAA Secretary Seamus Cleere stated: “In my five years…we have never lost a game due to a referee not turning up. That’s over a thousand games at Eastern level alone. The referees in this Division have been of enormous help to me and my respect and admiration for them has grown year on year. Their dedication should be admired by all and treated with proper respect.”
When taking the floor to make his address, County Board Chairman Paddy Joe Ryan heaped praised on the division’s referees and also complemented the conduct of players and officials in relation to their treatment of match officials.
“The referees this year have just been brilliant. The standard of refereeing in Waterford has gone up in leaps and bounds in the last number of years, and after every County Final this year, I noticed that every losing team was shaking hands with the referee, as well as the winning team. A couple of years ago, you might have had a few running after the referee if their team has lost, and it is a great change in the times to see that, to see the change in attitude from losing team after a match, in shaking the hand of the referee. I hope that remains the case as that’s the way it should be in all of our County Finals. We need sportsmanship, we need to look after our referees as we need the referees to continue to look after our games.”
Reflecting on the year in Déise GAA year, Michael Wadding described the inter-county campaigns as “somewhat disappointing”. He added: “The appointment of new senior hurling and senior football managers will hopefully lead to an upturn in our results and I wish both new managers well in their endeavours.” There was wholesale praise offered on the night for outgoing Secretary Seamus Cleere, whose hard work, efficiency and co-operation have proven hallmarks of his five-year term as an officer. Said Michael Wadding: “On all our behalves, I want to sincerely thank him for the tremendous work he has done over the last five years for this division and County Board. He’s been a top-class act and I wish him the very best for the future, and hopefully he will not be lost to the GAA in Waterford.”
Saluting the efforts of Seamus, who has been a tremendous sounding board to club members and indeed the local press during his term as Secretary, Paddy Joe Ryan described the Convention as “Seamie’s night”. He added: “We’re losing a great man and he’s had lots of tributes paid to him and he’s worthy of them all. First of all, he’s a proud Mount Sion man and that’s the way it should be, and whether you’re involved on the Board or not, you never forget where you came from, and Seamie, when he came in, left Mount Sion at the door and he worked for the good of Waterford GAA. He was a tremendous man to work with and while it might be said that there are some stern men on the Board, Seamie wasn’t one of them. He saw the brighter and the lighter side of things…and I’d like to wish him the very, very best. Surely, he’s not lost to the board, surely he’ll be back to serve in some capacity, because people like Seamie are very, very hard to replace.
And I couldn’t pay him enough tribute here tonight for the help he has been, particularly at CCC level above anything else; he’s a great man on fixtures and on insisting on playing games, he has been absolutely superb and the fruits of that work could be seen this year. The Eastern Division won four out of the six adult club championships and represented Waterford in two of the Munster Club Championships, which as Noel Reidy (St Saviours) said earlier is a very good sign. It really was a great year for the Eastern Division. The gates were up as well, which was another good sign and we’re always delighted with the money we get from both the Eastern and Western Boards, they’ve both been very good to the County Board. We’re all in it together.” Paddy Joe Ryan welcomed John Sheehan (De La Salle) onto the Executive, describing the new Secretary as “a long-time servant of the Association”. He added: “I know he’ll fill Seamie’s boots well and I like to wish him well in his new position.”
Praise for Seamus Cleere was also offered by County Secretary Pat Flynn, County Treasurer John Jackson, Vice-Chairperson Sean Michael O’Regan, Munster Council delegate and former county board chair, John O’Leary and by De La Salle delegate Seamus Quirke.
Postscript: Prior to the meeting’s commencement, sympathies were offered to Kill GAA Club following the death of their President, Nicky Whelan. Thanks were offered to St Saviours GAA Club for facilitating the meeting, with Seamus Cleere recommending that all future conventions be held at this impressive venue. In his report, Seamus expressed his gratitude to the board’s tournament sponsors, The Munster Express, the Waterford News & Star and WLR for the “exposure they give our games”.