‘A VERY BAD TASTE’

Ten­sions high as new CCC fix­tures com­mit­tee rat­i­fied

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE at Bal­li­nakill

TEN­SIONS in the meet­ing room in Bal­li­nakill rose sig­nif­i­cantly at Mon­day night’s County Board meet­ing when the dis­cus­sion turned to the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the CCC com­mit­tees, both fix­tures and dis­ci­plinary.

There are a num­ber of po­si­tional changes in the fix­tures com­mit­tee that have caused some up­set among some long-serv­ing and ded­i­cated mem­bers of the CCC.

County Chair­man Martin Fitzger­ald re­vealed that the CCC fix­tures com­mit­tee chair­per­son is to be Brid­get Kenny, while the im­mi­nent ap­point­ment of a full­time per­son in Bal­li­nakill to look af­ter fix­tures in the county with­out con­sult­ing ei­ther Mick Ha­gan or Tom Byrne was also of­fered as cause for up­set.

Both Ha­gan and Tom Byrne are re­main­ing on the fix­tures com­mit­tee, but these moves are be­ing re­garded as some­thing of seis­mic shifts with one del­e­gate de­scrib­ing the “dis­re­gard­ing” of the ex­pe­ri­ence of the two men, Ha­gan and Byrne, as “dis­grace­ful”, while an­other asked if both men were on trial and stated that the sit­u­a­tion was very em­bar­rass­ing.

The dis­cus­sion be­gan with County Chair­man Martin Fitzger­ald seek­ing the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of both the fix­tures and dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tees.

As well as the change of chair­per­son there was also a new ref­eree ad­min­is­tra­tor ap­pointed with Donal O’Ke­effe taking over that role with Kieron Kenny who was re­placed af­ter one year in the job.

“CCC is the only com­mit­tee we are rat­i­fy­ing tonight be­cause we want to be do­ing work in the next few weeks on fix­tures and trans­fers,” said Martin Fitzger­ald.

“The CCC fix­ture com­mit­tee is Brid­get Kenny, chair­per­son, Tom Byrne, sec­re­tary, Mick Ha­gan, Sea­mus Finn, West Board rep­re­sen­ta­tive, and Donal O’Ke­effe as ref­eree’s ad­min­is­tra­tor. And there’s one more per­son to be added to that.

“The CCC dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee is Michael O’Ke­effe, chair­per- son, Michael Mur­phy, sec­re­tary, Damien Byrne, Tom Coyne, Jackie Napier, Michael O’Neill, and Fin­tan Flana­gan,” he said.

“We have no county trea­surer at the mo­ment and we are seek­ing nom­i­na­tions,” he added.

Jackie Napier ques­tioned the wis­dom that the vice-chair­man Mick Ha­gan be “re­moved” from the CCC chair­man po­si­tion af­ter hav­ing done it and gained so much “ex­pe­ri­ence for a long num­ber of years”.

Martin Fitzger­ald replied that the de­ci­sion was at the dis­cre­tion of ev­ery chair­man to pick the com­mit­tee and that Mick Ha­gan was “not re­moved” from the CCC com­mit­tee.

“He’s still on the CCC com­mit­tee,” said Martin Fitzger­ald. “And the vice-chair­man last year wasn’t on the CCC. Ev­ery­body knows how ex­pe­ri­enced Mick is and he is still on the CCC,” he added.

Mick Ha­gan said that he would be mak­ing a com­ment on the sit­u­a­tion when the county re­view was be­ing dis­cussed.

Martin Fitzger­ald said that he felt that the county had an “able lady” in the form of Brid­get Kenny as chair­per­son of the CCC fix­tures com­mit­tee.

“We have an able lady and ladies be­hind the scenes do a lot of work in the GAA and we have an able lady in Brid­get Kenny as chair of the CCC.

“We’re gone past that ac­tu­ally, Jackie. As we said we have no county trea­surer at the mo­ment so the clubs have to nom­i­nate some­one for the po­si­tion and the clos­ing date is Jan­uary 15.

But Mick Ha­gan wasn’t fin­ished just yet

“Just to go back there for a se­cond there. Through the chair, our county sec­re­tary sent out stuff look­ing for per­son­nel to get in­volved in var­i­ous sub-com­mit­tees and I’d just like to query what re­sponse did we get?” Asked Mick Ha­gan.

“Three or four peo­ple,” replied Chris O’Con­nor.

“In the whole county?” Asked Ha­gan. “Yeah”. The dis­cus­sion moved on then, but Mick Ha­gan re­turned to the is­sue of his los­ing of the chair­man po­si­tion on the CCC fix­tures com­mit­tee.

“First of all, I’d like to con­grat­u­late Brid­get on be­com­ing the chair­per­son of the CCC. Cer­tainly, I’m dis­ap­pointed at be­ing maybe de­moted.

“Now, you are all aware Le­in­ster have brought in pro­pos­als here and they’ve been work­ing be­hind the scenes. Un­for­tu­nately, whether we like it or not, through no cost to the County Board, we’re led to be­lieve that there’s go­ing to be a full-time per­son here (Bal­li­nakill) to look af­ter the fix­tures – full-time and paid.

“Now, just from our own point of view, my­self and Tom Byrne, we all know the work that goes on be­hind the scenes here with Michael Mur­phy, Chris O’Con­nor, Brid­get and var­i­ous CCC com­mit­tees over the years, but cer­tainly, go­ing for­ward with this plan set by Le­in­ster Coun­cil, both my­self and Tom Byrne, this has left a very bad taste with us. We were asked for no in­put into what we’d like to see hap­pen, no in­put in the wide, earthly world.

“We’re not aware what my­self or Tom, what role we are go­ing to play in the CCC but we have to make that point, we were never con­tacted good, bad or in­dif­fer­ent,” he said.

Martin Fitzger­ald cut in at this point and re­minded Mick Ha­gan that this is­sue was to do with the county re­view.

“I’ve al­ready spo­ken to you about this, Michael. It’s what the clubs want and it’s what the clubs are get­ting. I would say that you are meet­ing to­mor­row night, the CCC are meet­ing with Le­in­ster to do with fix­tures and you’ll be there. Our hands are tied, Mick, as you know. The clubs pro­posed that this is the way it is to go and Le­in­ster are im­ple­ment­ing it, and our hands are tied,” he said.

“But surely, through the chair, surely, out of cour­tesy we should have been asked for some small in­put in what we see wrong,” said Mick Ha­gan.

“That’s up to Le­in­ster, it’s noth­ing to do with us,” replied Martin Fitzger­ald.

Dunlavin’s Jimmy Whit­tle asked if the per­son who was go­ing to be ap­pointed to look af­ter fix­tures was go­ing to be from within the county or now.

County chair­man Martin Fitzger­ald said that the County Board didn’t know. “Is it ad­ver­tised?” asked Whit­tle. “No,” replied Fitzger­ald. “It’s ap­pointed, the same as Bryan Doyle was ap­pointed,” he added.

Vic­tor O’Shaugh­nessy voiced se­vere crit­i­cism of Le­in­ster Coun­cil for “dis­re­gard­ing” the ex­pe­ri­ence of Mick Ha­gan and Tom Byrne.

“Chair­man, with the ex­pe­ri­ence that Mick Ha­gan and Tom Byrne and that com­mit­tee have, I think it was ter­ri­bly disin­gen­u­ous of Le­in­ster Coun­cil, or any­one else, to over­look that com­mit­tee. It’s ab­so­lutely dis­grace­ful.

“Whether the clubs in this county want that or not, I don’t know, Chair­man. I think my­self that the clubs in this county would want ev­ery­one in­volved in hav­ing a say on that com­mit­tee. And to dis­re­gard those two peo­ple, or that com­mit­tee, was an ab­so­lute dis­grace by Le­in­ster Coun­cil, that’s what it was, Chair­man, and noth­ing short of it,” he said.

“That’s not us, Vic­tor,” said Martin Fitzger­ald. “We all know the ex­pe­ri­ence that Tom Byrne and Mick Ha­gan have brought to the CCC for a long num­ber of years,” he added.

“It’s up to the County Board, Mr Chair­man, to point out that,” said Vic­tor O’Shaugh­nessy.

“It’ll be pointed out to­mor­row night (Tues­day),” said Martin Fitzger­ald.

A del­e­gate from the floor asked that when the new per­son in con­trol of fix­tures is ap­pointed who will clubs ap­proach to get a game called off.

“That’ll be the per­son you ap­proach,” replied Martin Fitzger­ald. “But there’ll be no games called off. You’ll get your fix­ture list. That’ll be the per­son you talk to. It won’t be any­one in the CCC, that’ll be the per­son.

“And that’s what the clubs want, clubs don’t want games (called off). We’re led to be­lieve by what went in from clubs to the re­port (the county re­view) that clubs don’t want games called off. I hope clubs ad­here to it when they’ve got what they wanted now,” he added.

“I know clubs mightn’t want games called off,” said the del­e­gate, “but they might want games changed around, maybe be­tween two lo­cal clubs. If two lo­cal clubs are play­ing each other, Mick (Ha­gan) or Tom (Byrne) would un­der­stand the history, that it mightn’t be...how would you put it...mightn’t be the friendli­est that day, and leave it for an­other day,” said the del­e­gate.

“That will be within the reg­u­la­tions,” said Martin Fitzger­ald.

Jackie Napier re­minded Martin Fitzger­ald that the County Board are the clubs.

“That’s cor­rect,” said Fitzger­ald. “But it was the clubs who im­ple­mented this plan, not the peo­ple at the top ta­ble, we got no say in it, it was the clubs. Pat Gil­roy’s re­port came back with that, Jackie. We can’t keep go­ing on the way we are go­ing on, go­ing back­wards, as we see at the mo­ment. We have to change things around a bit and see will it work, be­cause at the mo­ment things are very poor in hurl­ing and foot­ball,” he added.

“Chair­man, it’s get­ting very em­bar­rass­ing here with Mick Ha­gan and Tom Byrne here in the room,” added Jackie Napier. “Are they on trial or some­thing? Did they do some­thing wrong?”

“Sorry, Jackie, we’re mov­ing on af­ter this, but Mick Ha­gan brought it up him­self so if it’s em­bar­rass­ing, he’s em­bar­rass­ing him­self, right,” said Martin Fitzger­ald.

Former chair­man of the CCC fix­tures com­mit­tee Mick Ha­gan said he was ‘dis­ap­pointed’ at his “de­mo­tion”.

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