Duhallow convention calls for the re-instalment of divisional teams into county championships
The contentious topic of not allowing underage divisional hurling teams from Duhallow compete in the Rebel Óg County championship sparked debate at the Annual Duhallow Junior Board Convention in Millstreet.
Kilbrin delegate Donie O'Mahony hit out at the growing unease on barring Duhallow divisional teams.
"We're a small division, many of our clubs are seeing a falling population in their catchment areas, there is a need to promote hurling by fielding divisional teams. One or two players might make a development squad but we want a panel of twenty five or more players operating at the highest level in Cork," he said.
"Going back over the years, we were involved in great competition, outright wins were few and far between but we built up experience. Those currently involved mean business, ready to take teams outside the county to improve standards, that costs money, we should not be impeded, we want to operate at premier level in Cork County," said Mr. O'Mahony.
In his address, Chairman Joe Kerins paid tribute to two retiring county players Lorcán McLoughlin and Donncha O'Connor who came to prominence through involvement with divisional teams.
"Both played a massive role for club, division and county through a dynamism and energy. Their passion was always unquestionable, their strength of character shown throughout inter county involvement in dedicated service, hopefully, both will pursue their involvement on club and divisional teams," he said.
"If we want to improve hurling standards, we should be allowed enter underage teams from u14 up to minor level into county championships," said the Board Chairman.
Board President Tom Dennehy referred to the contrast of delight for clubs winning championships and the incentive of operating in higher grades, that's offset on the down side with the loss of players, mentors and supporters owing to additional commitments such as distance to games and supporters were denied local rivalry.
"I would appeal to the county board to stop plundering our junior championships. We need to look again at the second tier intermediate grades, a proper grading system is required as done for juvenile teams," said Mr. Dennehy.
"There are teams languishing in the higher grade of championships that should be regraded, this will take leadership and courage by the county board. We need our divisions to be strong for the county to be strong as this county is too big as one unit," he said.
Secretary Tony McAulliffe spoke of a successful year for Duhallow with a good spread of divisional titles among the clubs. Amongst the highlights of the year were the capturing of All Ireland titles by both Kanturk and Knocknagree and a county football title by Dromtariffe.
Falling populations reared its head and it is becoming a concert in urban and rural areas.
"Unfortunately it was necessary for the board to run a twelve a side competition in football to ensure the survival of a number of clubs who are struggling with numbers. This is a situation that needs to be addressed urgently by the national and county committees to ensure that many rural clubs countrywide do not face extinction," said Mr. McAulliffe.
Incoming Cultural Officer to the County GAA Board Richard Murphy encouraged clubs participation in Scór to mark its 50th Anniversary and in his capacity as Secretary to Féile na nGael Cork 2019, he appealed to clubs to become Féile hosts to a team from outside Cork.
Also in attendance at Convention were outgoing Cultural Officer Jerry Walsh and PRO, Donal Leahy.
Duhallow Junior Board 2019 comprises President, Tom Dennehy (Kiskeam); Chairman: Joe Kerins (Kanturk); Vice-Chairman: Steven Lynch (Boherbue); Secretary Tony McAulliffe (Lismire); PRO, John Tarrant (Millstreet); Development Officer: Seán McAulliffe (Kilbrin), Cultural Officer: Liam Buckley (Kilbrin).