Club Notes Week Ending 15th January 2023
2022 AGM Secretary’s report:
The AGM was held on Sunday the 15th. Here is the secretary’s report for 2022:
Thankfully in 2022, we were able to return to some normality as Covid faded into the background. We were able to complete a full season without interruption. The new fixture calendar did present some new challenges and there are a few issues for the GAA to iron out in 2023 but the overall feedback was positive.
Claregalway GAA continued to grow, develop and progress during 2022. All our subcommittees were very active and our Club Executive had a busy year. Our players performed admirably with many representing Galway at all levels.
Galway reaching the All Ireland final, Jack Glynn winning the Young Player of the Year award and the Co Minors winning the All-Ireland title were particular highlights. On the Club scene, we had great performances and successes at all levels in Juvenile, Ladies and men’s teams – the highlights being the Senior men promotion to Div1, the Ladies team reaching the Co Final and the Junior men promotion to Div4A. Each of the committees have completed their year-end reviews and comprehensive reports have been submitted to the Club Executive.
Finance / Fundraising
Club finances remained strong during 2022. Great credit must go to Tony Stephens, Padraic Fitzmaurice and the treasurers on each committee. Thankfully we were able to get the Discos up and running this year. The strength of the brand and solid reputation built over many years, ensured that the kids returned in large numbers. A big thanks to Eilish McEvoy, Barry O’Loughlin and the wider organising committee for getting the show back on the road.
The cornerstone of our finances is our membership income and again in 2022 our members were prompt with their payments and our membership continues to grow. I believe it reflects the value for money people receive when joining the club and is a demonstration of their support for what the club provides to them, their families and the wider Community.
The On-Line Club Lotto was restarted this year, led by JP Kilbane. While it was slow as the start, interest is picking up and hopefully it will form a solid income stream over the longer term. Other fundraisers during the year included our golf outing and EuroMillions. Thanks to all involved in organising and supporting.
Thanks to all our sponsors, large and small, your contributions are important for the operation of our club. We have tremendous sponsors across all sections of our club including Intel & Ed Donoghue (Ladies Club), Revive Active
(Juvenile Tops), iNua and Glynns (Senior club) and Hughes, Flynns, Treat, Roots, Arches plus many more. I strongly encourage our members to support our sponsors whenever possible.
Sincere thanks to all involved in the Juvenile club particularly the officers, Barry O’Loughlin, Aisling Ainsworth and Damien Prendergast. The scale of operations, the number of players, coaches, teams, helpers, etc in our underage ranks is impressive and challenging.
For the first time in a few years, we were able to hold 3 training camps – Easter, Cúl and Summer Camp. The Camps not only raise some money for the club but link our young adult players, who take coaching roles at the camps with the children attending the camps.
One of the highlights of the year was the holding of a National Schools competition. To get it restarted in 2022 was a great achievement and to see so many young players enjoying sport in a fun atmosphere on a beautiful evening in Knockdoe will live long in the memory.
The highlight on the pitch had to be the success of our U15 team winning the national Féile competition. Again, this year the Juvenile Tops supported by Revive Active proved a big hit.
Barry is stepping down as Chairperson this year. He has led the Juvenile club with great assurance through a difficult few years – Covid, growing membership etc. Thanks to Barry and Best of Luck to James Parker who has some big boots to fill.
Our ladies club continues to grow and compete at the highest level. The senior team reached the County Final again this year but Kilkerrin Clonberne proved too strong on the day and subsequently went on to comfortably win the All-Ireland title. It is challenging and daunting to start out a season knowing that you are likely to face the All-Ireland champions but the Club are rising to that challenge and exploring all options to get to a higher level. This year the club enjoyed a significant milestone birthday of 20 years. The first training session for girls aged 6-12
years took place on 28 April 2002. Roll forward to today with 400 females supported by 53 plus coaches and a strong and supportive committee.
Eugene Kearney stepped down as senior manager this year after 3 years in charge. Eugene works across all sections of the club, a hugely committed club man from a family involved with Claregalway Football for many years – thanks for all your work.
Congratulations to all the players who represented Galway on county teams and to all Ladies teams who achieved success in their competitions. A big thanks to Chairperson Elaine Goldrick, Secretary Lorna McNicholas, Treasurer Maura Murphy and the wider ladies committee, coaches and managers in the Ladies club.
In 2022, we fielded 4 adult teams – Senior, Junior, Junior B and Junior C, an u19 team and 2 X U17 teams. All teams completed a full schedule of games. The new calendar worked reasonably well but there were some delays and issues to review. Galway’s progression to the All-Ireland final delayed the start of the club championship and this had knock-on effects on other competitions particularly U19 championship. Overall, the Co Board appear pleased with how the new calendar / split season worked so I don’t foresee any major change in 2023. The Co Board are focused on improving competitiveness in senior and intermediate divisions with the relegation of 2 teams in both divisions.
This will continue in 2023 with the intention of getting to 16 teams in each division for 2024.
I would like to sincerely thank all the team managers and coaches involved with all the teams in the senior club. The dedication, commitment, interest, enthusiasm and quality you bring to the job are to be admired. You are a credit to the club and we are proud that you are involved with our club. I have listed the managers of each team below but there are over 30 others supporting those leading the teams. Thanks to all involved.
Senior John Fitzmaurice
Junior Alan Daly
Junior B Seamus McDonnell
Junior C John Noone
U19 Paul Concannon
U17A Shaun Morgan
U17B Barry O’Loughlin
Each of the team managers have already submitted a team report for their season.
On the field we had great success.
Senior team winning Div 2 and gaining promotion to Div 1
Junior team winning Div 4B and gaining promotion to Div 4A
Junior C winning a shield final
U17A winning a North Board Final
U17B winning a Shield final
One of the most satisfying aspects for the year was the number of players that played football this year. We have over 120 players active in the senior club. Many younger players experienced adult football for the first time, particularly in the Junior teams. In this regard, I would like to particularly thank Seamus McDonnell, Alan Daly and John Noone for their efforts and focus on bringing younger players into the adult club. The Junior teams are the conduit for our younger players’ introduction to adult football. It’s important to also acknowledge the commitment and efforts of the players themselves. There are frustrations and challenges during any season but remember the club are here to support our teams and our players.
Our Senior team enjoyed a successful season, winning the Div 2 League and getting to the QF of the Senior Championship where we were beaten by 1pt by Moycullen. There is a recognition that we are currently outside the top 4 in Galway but the improvements made over the last few years – Internal Coach & Manager selection, S and C programme, Video and Stats analysis, have bedded in and foundations have been laid for further progress. We need to push on again in 2023 and make the improvements that will drive this team to County success.
Our Junior team had a successful campaign winning promotion to Div4A. Renvyle beat us by a 1pt in the league but we were able to turn that around by beating them by 3pts in the league final – a very satisfying result. The challenges for Junior team players and management are significant. They lose players to the senior team as the season progresses, which is frustrating but this team remained competitive throughout.
Our 3rd team, Junior B were very competitive all season, winning 5 games and only losing in the semi-final to Kilconly.
We drew earlier in the league with Loughrea, the winners of the competition. This was Loughrea’s first team.
The Junior C team enjoyed a great season, winning a shield final and some notable additional highlights. I believe the trip to Aran Islands compared well with the senior team’s visit there a few seasons ago – they are great hosts. Also, the game arranged in Knockdoe for Hector’s podcast was a tremendous evening – mixing sport, fun, community and craic. A sincere thanks and congratulations to all involved in pulling that occasion together.
Our representation on Galway County teams in 2023 was impressive. Jack Glynn, Conor Campbell and Conor Flaherty were involved with the Galway Senior team this year. In particular, Jack Glynn’s achievement in winning the Young Player of the Year was outstanding. To have this calibre of player in our club is a tremendous asset. He leads by example and is a fine young man. He deserves every accolade and heartfelt congratulations.
On the County U17 team we had 6 players involved – Jack Lonergan, Owen Morgan, Cillian Trayers, Eoin Geraghty, Ryan Flaherty and Éanna Monaghan. It was a tremendous achievement to win the All-Ireland and having so many Claregalway lads involved helped to soften the blow for the local Mayo supporter in Roscommon that evening.
Éanna and Jack were also involved in the Co team in 2021 along with Eamon McGrath, Jack Ramsey and Luc O’Connor. This goes to demonstrate the quality coming through our club at this time. The challenge is to turn them into Claregalway senior team players in the near future.
We are beginning to see the larger numbers in the Juvenile club starting their transition to adult football. This will only accelerate over the coming year and is the biggest challenge facing the Men’s club. We need teams, coaches and club structures to support this influx of players. While the challenge is significant, the opportunities are tremendous. Claregalway GAA will challenge for and win Senior County titles if we are successful in creating a vibrant, challenging and competitive environment for these players. Thank you to my fellow officers in the Senior Club, Chairman Shane Moylan, Vice Chair John Feeney and Treasurer Padraic Fitzmaurice.
We have a large number of players and teams in our Club and thankfully, we have a large number of coaches, managers and volunteers assisting with these teams. It is the job of the Coaching Committee to organise, educate, assist and support all our coaches across the club. A significant development during 2022 was the approval for a fulltime coaching resource within the club. The CDO (Club Development Officer) role will commence in early 2023 and is part funded by our Club and Connacht GAA. This development will assist in the delivery of quality coaching to our players and support for club coaches. A big thanks to Brendan Morley and Barry O Loughlin for getting this across the line.
Thankfully, Galway Coaching were more active on the ground during 2022 with specific coaching courses being run in Loughgeorge. Additional funding was secured from Croke Park and a new Athletic Development initiative is planned for 2023.
During 2022 following the issues encountered in 2021 relating to the Club’s development plans for an Astro pitch, the Club embarked on a process to redefine the Club Development plan. Sub-committees for Lakeview and Knockdoe were formed to set direction for both sites. Both committees prepared plans which were presented at an EGM in May 2022. 2 motions relating to expenditure on an Astro pitch & upgrades in Knockdoe and lighting and pitch upgrade in Lakeview were approved at this EGM. It was agreed to form a charity company for funding purposes but this process has proven difficult and other funding avenues are now being explored. Progress has been made on moving ESB poles, on a 4 th pitch development and completion of shelters in Knockdoe.
Our Club can be rightly proud of the facilities that we have developed over the last few years. What we have achieved together is impressive and we are the envy of many clubs. This would not have been possible without a hugely committed team particularly John Morrin, Tony Stephens, Brendan Morley, Tony Clark, John Feeney and Padraic Fitzmaurice.
Boundary / Catchment Area
In late September, we attended a meeting with the Co Board and officers from Turloughmore GAA club to review arrangements regarding players from Lackagh parish. An arrangement has been in place for 5 years where Lackagh is considered part of the Claregalway catchment for football purposes – players from Lackagh are not required to request permission to play from Co Board. It was agreed to continue this arrangement for the next few years and review on a regular basis. It should be noted that Turloughmore retain the right to set-up a football club at any stage if they decide to do so.
The Co Board also raised the issue of players coming to Claregalway from our boundary with Galway City – Cloonacauneen, Brockey, Polkeen, Two Mile Ditch, Briarhill etc. The Co Board will approve a limited number of ‘permission to plays’ for players coming from this boundary area. However, anyone living closer to town or newer players to the club, should be made aware of potential problems and conflict with the Co Board down the line. The
Co Board expects these families to join St James or Eire Óg.
IT, PR and Registration
Each year our reliance on all things IT and social media increases. All aspects of our club are affected including club registration, membership, PR activity, communication to members and players, etc. To have someone as knowledgeable and as committed as JP Kilbane in our club cannot be underestimated. To say he is multi-tasking would not do justice to the amount of ground he is covering.
He is the main point of contact for all communications to the wider club and he continues to develop and improve our IT infrastructure. He is managing the transfer from our current platform Clubforce to the new GAA platform, Foireann. He publishes the newsletter and creates video content for our social media platforms. He also gets involved in registration, fundraisers and helping others whenever asked. It was a busy year for JP and we are very grateful for his efforts. Well done JP.
Thanks to Martin Kelly our GAA Club registrar, Michael Kearns and Claire Ellicott our LGFA registrars, for all their work during the year. Martin, Michael and Claire work closely with JP to ensure that all our players are compliant with GAA LGFA regulations.
Pitches amd Facilities
The maintenance and upkeep of our 4 pitches and training area is a significant activity. A big thanks to Tony Stephens, the grounds committee and CE Scheme workers. Michele Rohan resigned as CE Scheme Supervisor and she will be sorely missed in that role. Thanks to Michele for all her work with the CE Scheme and for the club over the years.
Also, thanks to Sheila Gallagher for coordinating and managing the pitch schedule. Activity levels and demand for pitches is increasing each year but Sheila took it all in her stride and ensured everything ran smoothly.
Child Welfare / Wellbeing / Injury
Thanks to Edel Noone (Ladies Child Protection officer) and Tony Goldrick (Juvenile Child Welfare Officer) for their work during the year. Their work happens in the background and under the radar. Their contribution to the smooth operation of the club, compliance with GAA, LGFA and legal requirements is significant.
The work that Paul McGuinness does on the managing player injury claims is very important. It’s not a high-profile role within the Club but comes into sharp focus when we are dealing with costs associated with an injury. A big thanks to Paul for his efforts during the year.
Our Health and Wellbeing Officer, Niall Clarke was active during the year promoting Health & Wellbeing initiatives in the club and engaging with the GAA on these matters particularly Gambling and Mental Health Awareness. Niall and Joe O’Connell worked together on an application to the Sport For All Disability Support Club fund.
I would like to extend my deepest sympathy and condolences to our members and families who suffered bereavements during the year.
To conclude, I would like to wish all involved with Claregalway GAA all the best for 2023.
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