Martin Kiely Column - County Board is in dire need of outside leadership

Enough already - Time for change, for the sake of Limerick GAA

Martin Kiely


Martin Kiely


Martin Kiely Column - County Board is in dire need of outside leadership

A new face is needed in Limerick GAA

ALARM bells should be ringing in Limerick GAA — instead, what we have is silence. A silence of acceptance that has found its way into almost every part of the association in Limerick.

The clubs are standing by, looking on at a county structure that is sadly ill-equipped to lead.

Most will of course give the impression that all is in fine order, but that is very much not the case. There is disharmony between officers — and I have mentioned that before on this page. Unfortunately, we have seen little improvement since I last wrote about it and my information now is that it has gone to a level that makes day to day business difficult. One would — and should — expect more from the people running the GAA in Limerick. But, like many things of the past and present, they are swept under the carpet.

The officer board of Limerick GAA are elected to set the agenda for all clubs but they must also show leadership in how they do their business. Some of the stuff going on within the board now is well short of what one would expect at this level of administration.

It’s normal practice that County Boards would hold officer meetings with great regularity. In many respects these meetings set the agenda at so many levels within counties. In Limerick that is not the case and meetings are not as frequent as in the past.

It is simply not good enough at a time where Limerick are really struggling to be relevant at senior level. We have made no progress over the past few years and it appears to me that the next few are not looking great right now. Strong leadership is needed but instead what we have is a County Board that, in my opinion, is not fit for practice.

It seems to me that there are people within the County Board who could and should be making a difference, but because their minds are more focused on what might happen at the convention later in the year.

The standards that Limerick GAA is operating to right now leave a lot to be desired and unless they change very fast I feel I will not see Limerick win an All Ireland in my lifetime.

The depths that Limerick have dropped to at senior hurling has reached another crisis point, but sadly I am not seeing any level of urgency from those in power on the non-playing side.

Yes we can do OK at underage level, but we are not getting players to reach their potential and make the grade at senior level. It is frightening to see how poor and how low we have dropped at senior ranks. It should be the main item on the agenda, but instead clubs are dished out a few crumbs and sadly they too are not showing enough interest in turning things around. That is the only interpretation we can put on their silence.

The top table of Limerick GAA don’t seem to have a plan to set the agenda. The same voices in the County Board will say that I am way off the mark but my conviction is deeply held and — I believe — widely shared. There is a lot of frustration out there among those who do not have a voice at County Board level and it's only right that this frustration is acknowledged. Nobody wins when heads are placed in the sand and there is not a proper acceptance that the status quo is failing us.

Limerick are disorganised at many levels and one only has to look at the standards at the Gaelic Grounds and Rathkeale. If that wasn’t bad enough they now are going to take over the old St Enda’s school. They can put whatever spin they like on it,but I believe this is a wrong move and I'm not alone in thinking that.

Sure, they will come up with all the reasons why and they will tell you that works are planned at various levels, but the focus is all over the place in Limerick.

Will the Limerick Academy move to St Enda’s? They might want to check that one out before they go any further.

Why in God’s name do the Limerick County Board have offices at the Munster Council offices?

Stop paying rent, lads, and go to where you should be at the Gaelic Grounds.

For the long-term good of Limerick GAA there is a major need for them to seek outside help. They need to bring in someone from the world of business who will first review how business is done and then put a plan in place.

Look at how Denis Brosnan has helped to turn matters around in Limerick city. Here is a man who knows how to lead a team and get things done, a man who makes the right calls and can take the politics out of the picture. We need someone who will assess what Limerick needs now and what we require in ten years’ time.

Liam Woulfe is a widely respected business man. He has left his mark on many enterprises and to me his leadership, vision and knowledge is badly needed in Limerick GAA now. The Limerick County Board needs a man like Woulfe to win back the respect that it has lost.

The county is not going in the one direction. Many great people have been lost to the association.

A man like Liam Woulfe would bring much needed governance and guidance to a board that is in clear need of such expertise.

As we head into the forty -fifth year without an All Ireland at senior level, something must change. I am reminded of the words of Edmond Burke: “Bad things continue when good men stay silent.”

RIP - Micheal O’Brien

It was a measure of the man that hundreds turned up for the funeral of Kildimo GAA club man Micheal O’Brien last weekend.

He was a lifelong supporter of his club and Limerick. He gave great service to his club and his family carried on that proud tradition. He hurled many a game at the church wall in Kildimo after Sunday mass and to his family I offer my sincere sympathies at this time.

May he rest in peace.