‘No holds barred’ root and branch review of Limerick football scene promised

Jerome O'Connell

Reporter:

Jerome O'Connell

Email:

joconnell@limerickleader.ie

‘No holds barred’ root and branch review of Limerick football scene promised

Limerick Football matters are set for a review

LIMERICK GAA officials have set up a new Football Review Group, promising a ‘no holes barred root and branch’ review.

“We are very disappointed with the lack of progress made across all grades really and we have got to a stage where we have fallen behind most of the other counties in Munster - we have gone from a position of being a good third or even second in some years to being down at the bottom,” Limerick GAA chairman John Cregan told this Tuesday’s July County Board meeting.

“We will not be found wanting by way of supporting a real genuine effort to ensure we are fielding our best teams at all times from underage up to senior and I believe it’s time to address that issue now how we can improve and where the problems are. The review group will look at all aspects of football in the county - root and branch with no holes barred,” he promised.

The Football Review Group comes after another poor year for with few positive results from U-14 up to senior.

A seven person Football Review Group has been put in place and was ratified by the club delegates without a single question or comment.

Former Limerick senior and U-21 football manager Paddy Mulvihill will be the group chairman. The Adare man was at the helm of the inter-county teams immediately prior to Liam Kearns. Mulvihill has also served Adare football in varying capacities and in recent times his business Irish Products has been the Limerick SFC sponsor.

Completing the group will be Stephen Lucey, Muiris Gavin, Mike Cunningham, Gerry Phillips, Denis Carroll and Mike O’Riordan.

Croom’s Stephen Lucey is a former Limerick senior hurler and football. In late 2016 he was on the sub committee that selected Billy Lee as the new Limerick football manager.

Monaleen’s Muiris Gavin is a former Limerick senior football captain and in recent times was one of the driving forces behind the Limerick Under Football Academy.

Monagea’s Gerry Phillips is the current Limerick Football Board chairman, while Killeedy’s Mike Cunningham is also a current County Board officer - as Coaching and Games Officer.

Completing the group is Limerick GAA secretary Mike Riordan and Limerick County Bord na nOg chairman Gerry Phillips.

“I look forward to the group going and doing their business and coming back with realistic, affordable recommendations that we can put in place that they feel would improve football in the county,” said John Cregan.

“They will look at the Football Board and their role, the Implementation Group (Academy group), the support we can give to improve colleges football, what we do in primary schools through Coaching and Games and Bord na nOg.”

The chairman man stressed: “there is no expense spared”.

“From a County Board point of view and from a Management (top table) point of view resources have been put in freely and willingly and I can vouch for that from my time as chairman of the Football Board for the last number of years.”

“Most disappointing is that some of the teams that the County Board invested heavily in and were quite successful, the numbers of players are not coming through to senior level and there has been a significant fall-off in players year-on-year and so we find ourselves in a position where an awful lot of those who we felt had bright future as senior footballers are not taking part - we need to look at that and see is it our problem or the national structure,” he outlined.

“We have to get full buy-in from our football clubs and from our footballers that they are going to put up their hands and buy into wearing a Limerick football jersey and I believe that is very important.”

The chairman also reiterated his belief that a two tier All Ireland SFC is needed.

“I believe that the national structure should be changed - every championship should be tiered and every team should be graded. We grade our teams in our own county from senior down to junior ‘B’ and in the hurling championship nationally there are four different tiers and everybody buys into that and the team that wins the fourth tier are as happy and proud as the team that wins the MacCarthy Cup. It works quite well in hurling in my opinion and I think it’s absolute madness that we put 32 or 33 inter-county teams into the hat to play the same championship.”