Martin Kiely Column - Need for change in Limerick GAA

In his weekly Limerick Leader GAA column, Martin Kiely says that strong characters are needed in Limerick GAA

In his weekly Limerick Leader GAA column, Martin Kiely says that strong characters are needed in Limerick GAA

The landscape of the Limerick GAA will be changed in a short few months as many at the top table have completed their five years of service and must either step down or contest a new position.

The coming months could very well be the most important for some time for Gaelic games in Limerick and the time is surely right for some new names to come forward and add some much needed energy and ambition to what has become very stale. T

hose not in the know will of course think all is just grand in Limerick but that is far from the case. Many currently sitting on the County Board have lost faith long before now because they feel very much out of the loop and, in many cases, find out what is going on from other sources.

That, of course, should not be the case and I have a great fear for those coming in because unless they are strong and willing to speak their minds then Limerick GAA will be no better off in the years ahead. The time has come for clubs to really take hold. The clubs only get such power every few years and I do hope they take full advantage of what will come before them in the coming weeks.

Limerick GAA is not in as good place as some might like us to think – yes, we are making some small steps to progress on the field but many giant steps need to be taken and, as of now, we do not have the people in place with the vision and ability to set the foundation to make sure we make progress.

The time for ‘nod and wink’ must go and the politics that has destroyed Limerick GAA must be ended forever. Clubs have played their part in keeping the politics alive in Limerick because someone within their clubs was controlled by an outside source to pull the local vote. The current climate has taught us much about how our country was governed over the last 15 years or so, we have had and will have to pay for such poor management for generations to come.

Those involved in Limerick GAA at administration level have had a very poor record over many years - when new people came in they were whipped into line and they became part of the system. Are the clubs in Limerick going to allow such practice to continue into the future? The clubs in Limerick have lost control and it might be about time they took it back.

Some people on the County Board might try their best to put a spin on how great things are - or should that be how great they are – but, in truth, most people know that things are far from good and I predict they will get considerably worse in the years ahead unless action is taken.

The GAA in Limerick belongs to no one person and no one person should be allowed to control what is best for the organisation’s long term good. Limerick GAA doesn’t really have a master plan; okay, I know we have a bit of a document that was delivered a couple of years ago, but that must now be well covered with dust. Most serious County Boards that I know only produced such a document to keep Croke Park off their back so it’s safe to say Limerick are just making it up as they go along.

Attracting new people to take positions in the Limerick County Board will not be easy; any serious person would have to think twice before they would become part of a top table that is controlled by one or two people. It would, of course, suit some people who just want to follow what’s put before them and not question anything.

I know of a couple of people who are intending to stand for positions but is that to promote themselves for other jobs outside of the GAA? Time will tell on that matter but it’s the view of many people on the ground in Limerick GAA circles.

The time has come for new people to add a much needed freshness to the boardroom in Limerick and those people must let their voices be heard and not be controlled. The power base in Limerick is very small, and I can confirm that it’s getting smaller, the serious people in clubs must stand up and not allow this to happen because what is going on is not for the benefit of Limerick GAA.

Some key positions are in line to be filled and it will be very interesting to see who will step up to the plate. Oliver Mann set a marker at the last County Board meeting when he told delegates he was going straight for the chair. If no challenger comes forward he will have filled three different positions on the Board without a contest. I would expect a contest this time around but Mann is in a strong position.

I heard recently that Donal Morrissey would contest this position but given that he talks a fair bit on finance at each County Board meeting he might, as I suggested after last year’s convention, stand for Treasurer, he has the background to do this job.

I see Seamus McNamara was fast off the mark with his name in for the assistant secretary’s job and I hear Mick McDonald might also have a go at this post. Could it be that the West Division is the only division not putting its results up on Service Sport for the Monday papers? Over the past few months I have had a few letters from readers complaining about the lack of results. Whose job is it in the West to put up such results?

Politics has played a key role in Limerick GAA - that could be getting your man into a particular post; let that be in the County Board, team selector or a whole host of other things that will give someone a small bit of power, but in return they will vote as requested and follow what they are told.

It’s really very sad to think that a person would allow himself to be controlled in this way because at no stage will the good of Limerick GAA come before the politics that has, for so long, destroyed our county.

I do hope that some good people come forward. We need to get a few likeminded people on the County Board at the same time because otherwise a lone voice will be swallowed up. Whoever becomes Chairman will have a major task on his hands. Will he choose to sit back and allow the agenda to be created or will he come with a plan and make it happen? The Chairman needs to have a major say in the agenda but, most important of all, is that those who should will follow it and not go from week to week and make up their own agenda.

Every position in the County Board has to be contested, this is vital and those calling for votes need to be pinned down as to what they are going to do. Will they allow it continue as it is? Just because someone might have pulled a club grant for you in the past has no bearing on the future of your club and your county.

In some cases one or two people control where the votes go in the local club but the time has come for the normal club person to play his /her part and stop the politics that have delivered nothing for Limerick.

Next year 40 years will have passed since Limerick last won a senior All Ireland title and while some of the blame for this rests with matters on the field - some can certainly can be pointed at various County Boards.