Limerick hurling board ends in turmoil

Jerome O’Connell


Jerome O’Connell

THE “sincerity” of top level Limerick GAA officials has been questioned as negotiations to establish a Hurling Committee have broken down.

THE “sincerity” of top level Limerick GAA officials has been questioned as negotiations to establish a Hurling Committee have broken down.

It was confirmed this week that despite eight meetings between representatives of the top table and the steering committee of the Hurling Committee, no progress was made.

The new Hurling Committee got the backing of the club’s at Annual Convention in January 2011. Last May delegations representing the County Board and those behind moves to establish the Hurling Committee set out to negotiate on the start-up.

Limerick chairman Liam Lenihan was to chair the discussions.

Owen O’Neill (Murroe-Boher), Phil Bennis (Patrickswell), Val Moloney (Kilmallock) and John Quaid (Feohanagh-Castlemahon) represented those seeking change, while the County Board’s delegation was secretary Mike O’Riordan (Kilmallock), treasurer Owen Hayes (St Kierans), Coaching Officer Joe Quaid (Murroe-Boher) and Munster Council delegate Mickey O’Sullivan (St Kierans).

At this Tuesday night’s June monthly meeting of the County Board, a statement from the quartet on the Hurling Committee confirmed an end to negotiations and laid the blame with the top table of Limerick GAA.

“We have been bitterly disappointed at the level of engagement and sincerity displayed by the nominees from the executive committee and as a result of this lack of engagement and sincerity and volte face by the negotiators when they were overruled by their management committee recently, we reluctantly and regretfully have formed the conclusion that further discussion with the Management Committee with a view to putting in place a meaningful Hurling Committee is wholly futile,” said the statement, which was read to the meeting by Pat Heffernan. “As a result of this we have decided that we must now participate in a period of consultation with the clubs to determine what is the best way of ensuring that the wishes of the delegates at county convention can be implemented.”

Limerick GAA chairman Liam Lenihan defended his role.

“I have been as impartial and fair as I possibly can. But we do not have an agreed document. Four documents have exchanged hands and they were fairly comprehensive and they were examined but an agreement hasn’t been reached,” stated the chairman.

Mickey O’Sullivan then spoke.

“The big problem is that what was passed in Kilmallock was parity with football and they is not acceptable to the steering committee,” he said.

Limerick GAA Irish Officer Micheal O’Riain also spoke out in defence.

“There is a premise that we cannot properly run the affairs of Limerick hurling - we have been democratically elected at convention to run affairs of hurling and football and there is a premise that perhaps people here are not capable and I would not accept that,” said O’Riain.

Pat Heffernan asked that the steering committee be allowed attended a County Board meeting to debate the issue.

On a proposal from Hugh Murphy, that request will be postponed until all inter-county hurling teams are out of the championship, so as to not “give any more bad publicity”.

Attention now switches back to the Hurling Committee.

“All avenues will be explored up to and including seeking a mandate from the delegates by election. It may be that this is the only way of ensuring that the Limerick County Board acts in a truly democratic manner,” read their statement. They sought a “period of intense examination of the Limerick County Board, its structures, its policies and how it can do its business better and its respect for democratic decision making”.