In a wide ranging address, the outgoing chairman Seamus Sweeney recalled a year of mixed results on the field of play with the highlights being the winning of the Connacht Senior Football Championship, the U-17 footballers and hurlers performing well and Michael Glavey’s winning the Connacht Intermediate Club Football Championship.
However, the serious financial issues facing the board and rural de-population leading to clubs having difficulty fielding teams were the main items he highlighted to delegates.
With regard to finance, he said that he was thankful for the assistance given to the board by Croke Park during year.
“The accounts will show that while there is a surplus shown this year, the fact is that we have received an advance of Croke Park grants which means we will not receive these grants in 2018 and part of 2019 and we will have to make up this shortfall in the next two years.”
He paid tribute to the work of Club Rossie and its chairman David O’Connor for the fundraising work they have been doing in recent years.
With regard to rural de-population, the chairman said that the reality was now that clubs are finding it difficult to field teams at underage level and that a pooling of resources of neighbouring clubs is the only way forward.
“We have sought to address this, and the county secretary Brian Carroll and I are in discussions with some clubs with a view to pooling resources to maximise participation in playing our games. There is a responsibility on all of us at club and county level to ensure that all our young people, regardless of where they live in this county, have an opportunity to play Gaelic Games.
“We have to develop a structure which allows clubs to pool resources at certain levels while at the same time protecting the individual club identity,” he said.
Seamus Sweeney also said that the County Board was committed to the Dermot Earley Training Centre project in Runnabracken and to the further development of the facilities at Dr Hyde Park.