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Kettle to keep Blues boiling

SAM was the top VIP at last night's Dublin county board convention in Parnell Park.

"Some people say we have cracked it because of our success this year, but this is just the start," declared Dublin chairman, Andy Kettle.

"If you stand still, you go backwards, and I have no intention of letting that happen."

Pointing to the impressive display of trophies in the room, the Dublin chief added: "Two-thousand-and-eleven was a historic year for Dublin on the pitch. But it didn't just begin on January first last.

"We now face many challenges. We urgently need more volunteers. As it is, we are stretched to breaking point in that regard.

Unsavoury

"We can't operate as a closed shop. We need to be open to new ideas. Many people have more free time these days and we need to get them working for us."

The chairman also focused on discipline. "We had a small number of unsavoury incidents this year, but one is too many. Clubs have a duty to act on any breach of discipline. Covering up does not do us any good in the long run."

Much debate centred on the Dublin senior football and hurling championships. Some delegates spoke in favour of going back to the straight knock-out system.

The fixture schedule also sparked plenty of interest. All agreed a more compact, consistent structure is required.

"Players want, above all else, certainty," proclaimed Mick O'Brien of St Jude's. "Players need to know when they are playing."

Tom Rock of Kilmacud Crokes stated: "We need to grasp the nettle now. I have been talking to young players, and with no matches during the summer months, they say they feel like giving up the game.

"If we do not tackle this issue, Dublin will not be looking at winning cups in future years. Look at rugby. They play a Heineken Cup match a week before an international. I know they are professional, but there are times when there's no reason in the word why inter-county players can't play with their clubs.

"The Dublin CCC do a great job," offered Davy Billings of St Vincent's, wearing his UCD hat. "There's 7,000 games played in Dublin every year. That's a huge undertaking."

The St Jude's motion of doing away with the 13-day rule was passed. Excluding All-Ireland finals and semi-finals, Dublin players can now play with their clubs six days before an inter-county tie.

The convention ran for two hours and 20 minutes. It drew a big crowd.

There was only one election as Andy Kettle pipped the former Dublin chairman, Gerry Harrington of Naomh MearnĂ³g, for the Central Council position.

Vice-chairman, Sean Shanley, quipped: Hopefully we'll do as well next year. We will all be very happy if we win Liam McCarthy."

Jim Roche is the assistant secretary. "It's my 20th year on management. For so long hurling was a second class citizen. Now, Dublin hurling is at the top table," remarked Jim.

Wished

Noel Murphy will be on Leinster Council with Con Clarke. "I'd like to thank the delegates for sending me back to Portlaoise," smiled Noel. It brought a hearty chuckle.

Sean O'Mahony stepped down as treasurer. Dublin CEO, John Costello, wished him well. "Sean has been involved here since 1958. He became treasurer in 2004. The profits shot up. He'd balance things to the last penny. He came into Parnell Park on an almost daily basis. He'll be sorely missed." Sean's son, Finbarr, will take over the post.


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