John Lacey was reappointed London County Board Chair for a third year at Sunday’s Convention, and made the redevelopment of the clubhouse at McGovern Park one of his main priorities for 2018.
Mr Lacey, who is in his second spell as chair, was reappointed unopposed after Tony O’Halloran withdrew from the running, and called it an “honour” to continue in the role for another 12 months.
Following the redevelopment of the pitch and the new stand at McGovern Park, which has made Ruislip a “facility any county would be proud of ”, the refurbishment of the clubhouse is the next stage.
“Hopefully this time next year we’ll be sitting in a more luxurious room, but it will come at substantial cost,” Mr Lacey told delegates.
“But it’s something we will achieve, just as we achieved what happened outside [McGovern Park]”.
Mr Lacey went on to stress the growing importance of the role of the Health and Well-being Officer on the Board, and said it was a role all clubs should have. London Health and Well-being Officer Dee Malone spoke of the growing concerns over gambling and confirmed that there will be a workshop, staged with the assistance of Croke Park, at McGovern Park on 10 March to highlight the issue.
Mrs Malone urged the clubs to “come on board” and appealed to them to advise the Health and Well-being Committee of any specific issues they would like the committee to focus upon.
“This is becoming a very serious issue and I would appeal to all clubs to make sure that you have a Health and Well-being Officer. It’s now the most important officer both in Ireland and here – it’s very serious,” said Mr Lacey.
Changes to the Board for 2018 saw Tony O’Halloran named Central Council Delegate, after both he and Seamus Carr (outgoing) both received 35 votes. Mr Lacey had the deciding vote.
Fiona O’Brien new PRO
Former Irish World sports editor Fiona O’Brien was named PRO, with Pat Griffin standing down from the role, while Tony Griffin takes over as Development Officer from Declan Flanagan, who withdrew.
The London County Board Chairman had earlier used his address to Convention to highlight the crucial role of “active club officers” citing the demise of Heston Gaels due to a lack of officers to run the club. He went on to propose the idea of a workshop for those interested in promoting youth hurling and football, to explore how participation can be increased. The suggestion was also muted to move the Super Games Centre away from Greenford in 2018 to help assist the growth of hurling.
Mr Lacey said that after the completion of McGovern Park, more now needs to be done to ensure the other grounds used by the GAA are suitable for players, especially appropriate changing and showing facilities.
Mr Lacey confirmed that McGovern Park would be available for more games in 2018, but he warned delegates that the new pitch must be monitored to ensure that it “matures as designed”.
He paid a special tribute to those volunteers who assisted with the official opening of McGovern Park for the Connacht Championship fixture with Leitrim, both in advance and on the day, saying that the county owed them a “great gratitude”.
In response to the issue of unplayed finals (two clubs gave walkovers in finals in 2017) Assistant Secretary John Doyle stressed the need to stick to the Master Fixtures Plan and the impracticality of liaising with clubs to fix dates for finals. Mr Lacey spoke of the “detriment” of such walkovers to sponsors and the game in general. The number of total walkovers, though, was down on 2016, which Mr Doyle attributed to the Master Fixtures Plan, and he expects the figure to drop again in 2018.
One negative from Convention was the lack of nominations for positions on the Board, with Mr Lacey calling it “a sad reflection”, and he urged clubs to take a “more active” involvement in the Board.
An amendment to Bye Law 6 to extend the deadline for club to club transfers from 1 April to 1 May was defeated, while an amendment to London County Board Bye Law 5 (i) was carried, which will allow ‘two selected’ people to be added to the Management Committee.
A new Bye Law was carried that clubs with a second team have until 1 February to regrade any players who played senior in 2017.
Delegates also supported a Motion to Congress that any player going to the USA should be able to get a sanction provided their first club is in Britain.
London County Board Officers 2018
Life President: Carmel McArdle (Cuchulainns)
Honorary President: Billy Reilly (Brothers Pearse)
Chairperson: John Lacey (Granuaile)
Vice Chairperson: Eddie Naughton (Cuchulainns)
Asst Secretary: John Doyle (Fulham Irish)
Asst Treasurer: TBC
Treasurer Social Club: TBC
Development Officer: Tony Griffin (Parnells)
Coaching Officer: TBC
PRO: Fiona O’Brien (Brothers Pearse)
Oifigeach na Gaeilge: Tommy Harrell (Fr Murphys)
Central Council: Tony O’Halloran (Harlesden Harps)
Provincial Council: Noel O’Sullivan (St Kiernans) & TBC
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