THE system of County Board meetings is long past its sell date.
That’s the opinion of one of the two new faces into the management committee of Limerick GAA for 2015.
Newly elected Munster Council Delegate Frank Reidy made the comments in his acceptance speech at last Sunday’s Annual Convention in Ballylanders.
The Feohanagh-Castlemahon man and Seamus Twomey of Croom (new Development Officer) will be the only first time County Board officials when the first meeting of the new year takes place in mid-January.
Reidy told the packed gathering of the importance of the grass roots (clubs) of the GAA and his promise to remain loyal to those who elected him.
“This is one of the proudest days in the GAA scene that I have ever been involved in. I have not come through the normal route - I am an outsider and a lot of people wanted to keep me on the outside. What elected me was the grass roots - clubs are the grass roots,” he said passionately.
It was Reidy’s first time standing for election at County Board level and he said if beaten there wouldn’t have been another challenge.
“When I came in here this morning I said to myself was there a wedding on here or something - I came in my Limerick jacket and I am very proud to wear it but I was faced with ties, collars and pin-striped suits. I came in my pair of jeans, my ordinary ware and that’s what Frank Reidy is.”
He explained: “I work tirelessly for the GAA and I am a through and through grass roots GAA person - grass roots have elected me here today”.
“I have met plenty opposition during this campaign - not from the two candidates (Liam Lenihan and Mickey O’Sullivan) I may add, who both ran very good campaigns. I gave it absolutely everything.”
He had one more promise.
“At County Board meeting I sit in the top right hand corner in Claughaun - that’s where I am going to continue to sit. I do not intend to take up a position above in the top table because I think the system we have at County Board meeting is long past its sell by date. I will be staying below with my colleagues and with the grass roots and from there I will make my contribution,” said Reidy.
It was an Annual Convention were for the first time since 1996 that a sitting chairman was challenged but it never materialised into the dramatics that surrounded that previous chairman election between Brendan Danaher and Gerry Bennis.
Last Sunday in the superb new facilities of Ballylanders GAA, sitting Limerick GAA chairman Oliver Mann (Patrickswell) was returned with an emphatic 207-95 success over challenger and departing vice-chairman Pat Heffernan (Blackrock).
Elsewhere on the agenda of the three and a half hours Annual Convention there was one more vote.
Three candidates went before the clubs looking for two of the delegate places to Munster Council.
Former county board chairman Liam Lenihan (Mountcollins) was elected on the first count with 134 votes, easily passing the quota of 101.
After the first county the remaining duo Frank Reidy and Mickey O’Sullivan had 98 and 68 votes respectively.
But it was Reidy that emerged victorious, 111-88 after count two.
The result meant that Feohanagh-Castlemahon man Reidy was a newcomer to the top table, while St Kierans’ O’Sullivan departs, although he remains West Board secretary.
Sunday’s Annual Convention brought an end to the five year term of three officers - Rory Kiely (Central Council), Denis Holmes (Munster Council) and Liam O’Sullivan (Development Officer).
However, only Kiely departed.
Former Limerick GAA chairman Denis Holmes moves to become the new Central Council delegate to replace Rory Kiely.
Claughaun’s Liam O’Sullivan becomes the new vice-chairman as Pat Heffernan didn’t stand for the role he held for the last two years.
O’Sullivan’s former role as Development Officer is to be filled by Croom’s Seamus Twomey, who like Reidy will be a new face on the board for 2015.
In a week when Tyrone elected the country’s first female chairperson and Cork elected a female vice-chairperson, Limerick continue with just assistant-treasurer Geraldine Neenan (Dromin-Athlacca) as the female representation on the County Board.