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Open Letter To Carrick Swan Members & Supporters Regarding The Current u16 Hurling Championship Saga

posted 27 Oct 2013, 14:06 by Carrick Swans   [ updated 27 Oct 2013, 14:07 ]

Dear Members & Supporters,

When our club was developing the Carrick Swan Strategic Vision & Action Plan 2013-2018, at this time last year, one of the main points I took from it was that members and supporters needed to be kept up to date on all happenings within our club.

For this reason I feel, in my role as Carrick  GAA Club PRO that it is necessary to be transparent with our members regarding the current saga surrounding the 2013 South & County u16 'A' Hurling Championship.

On Sunday September 15th, we defeated Moyle Rovers on a scoreline of 3-12 to 2-10 in the first game of the u16 South Semi-Final double header in Kilsheelan. The second game between Ballingarry and St Mary’s of Clonmel was abandoned midway through the second half when players, supporters and selectors of both teams became involved in a melee.

On the evening of September 15th, South Tipperary Bord Na nÓg stated that, as the Minor Championship was going to be played at weekends, the South u16 ‘A’ Final was going to be played midweek between September 23rd and 29th .

On Friday September 20th , our club was officially informed by South Bord Na nÓg that a CCC meeting took place on Wednesday September 18th and that both St Mary’s and Ballingarry had been thrown out of the competition. We were also informed that “they have a right to appeal our (CCC’s) decision (within 3 days of receipt of our decision). If they (St Mary’s & Ballingarry) exercise their right to a Hearing, this will have to then be dealt with by our County Hearings Committee. Therefore until this issue has been completely dealt with the Under 16 A Hurling Championship Final for 2013 cannot be confirmed.”

On Sunday September 22nd, our club received a provisional fixture for a County Semi Final vs Mid Champions, Drom/Inch which was due to take place on Saturday September 28th. We were advised that “this fixture is subject to outcome of the appeal by St Marys/Ballingarry”.

On Tuesday September 24th we were advised that the County Bord Na nÓg had put the u16 County ‘A’ Semi Finals back one week to allow South Bord Na nÓg to conclude their Championship. To us, this didn’t make one bit of sense as the North were not finished their Championship at this stage. We were also informed by South Bord Na nÓg, via their official facebook page that “if the South are not ready for the County Semi Finals on 5th October, we will be instructed to nominate a team/Club to represent the South in the County Semi Finals (as per the rule)". It was also confirmed that the County Appeals Hearing for St Mary’s & Ballingarry was not going to be heard during the week September 23rd to 29th.

Also on Tuesday September 24th, we were informed by South Bord Na nÓg that we were going to be nominated to represent South Tipp in the County Semi Finals at the next County Bord Na nÓg meeting on Monday September 30th and that we would face Drom/Inch on October 5th.

On October 3rd, official word came in that we were expected to play an u16 County Semi Final on Sunday October 6th in New Inn vs Drom/Inch. Unrelated to the u16, but related to our treatment by the Bords, we were instructed that our Minors would have to play Moyle Rovers in a Minor ‘A’ South Semi Final on the same weekend. When we tried to get one of these games switched, we were advised that this wouldn’t be possible.

On Friday October 4th, we were advised that our County Semi Final vs Drom/Inch would not go ahead as planned. The reason given was that “after consultation with County Tipperary Senior Board, the Under 16 "A" County semi-final scheduled for Sunday 6th October 2013 in New Inn will not now take place, as there is a hearing on Tuesday night 8th October, and as a result of the hearing, it may have an input on future games in this competition.”

On Sunday October 6th, we noticed that the official Tipperary GAA Website advertised the County u16 ‘A’ Final for Saturday October 12th. This went up after the email we received on October 4th.

On Monday October 7th, County Bord Na nÓg and South Bord Na nÓg published the following:

Thiobraid Arann Bórd Na Nog Scene

“Once again the mess down south creates havoc for our 16 A hurling fixtures. It has almost become an annual occurrence from that particular division and mid champions are suffering for a second time this year as a result of an uncompleted south championship.
Our Bórd on instruction from our senior colleagues had to cancel the scheduled A semi final between Mid champions Drom Inch against south nominated Carrick Swan. The other A contest between Clonoulty Rossmore and Kilruane MacDonaghs ended up with victory for the north champions who now join in the waiting game as only Drom Inch are the only known semi finalist at the present time."

South Bord Na nÓgs response:

“When requested by County Board na nOg to nominate a team to go the County semi finals in Under 16A we did. The team that was nominated did not request a postponement to this fixture. It was County Senior Board that requested that this fixture be on hold. These are circumstances outside the Control of South Bord na nOg and therefore South Bord na nOg should not be held responsible for this.”

Between October 7th and October 10th, we were officially informed that St Marys & Ballingarry had both been re-instated in the South Championship by South Bord Na nÓg after pressure was put on from a number of individuals from different Bords within the County.

We also got the following response from South Bord na nÓg in relation to our nomination to represent South Tipperary in this year’s u16 Championship in the County Semi Finals:

“As South Bord na nOg were required by County Bord na nOg  to nominate a team to go to County Semi Finals for a fixture that was to be played last week.

The position of Carrick Swans with regard to the County Semi Final lays with County Bord na nOg.

Please refer any queries you may have with County Bord na nOg.

We apologise for ALL the waiting your Club & players have suffered and hope that this matter will be dealt with in a fair manner by County Bord na nOg.”

When we contacted County Bord Na nÓg, their response was “following a recommendation from the County Hearings Committee, the South Under 16 "A" Semi-final between Ballingarry and St Mary's is to be re-fixed.  The winners will play Carrick Swan in the South Final.The necessity for a nominated team from the South Division is no longer a requirement.”

On October 10th, our club received an email from South Bord Na nÓg Secretary detailing a lot of the underhand carry-on in this situation. This email was discussed in an Irish Examiner article, which can be viewed here.

Out of respect to Ann Fleming, who is doing trojan work at South Bord Na nÓg level, all above board may I add, and who should be absolved from blame in all this, I won’t publish the full email. However I will publish the following section in relation to a number of phone calls Ann received “from one particular Club, who said that if the fixture was not to be played this weekend coming (St Mary’s vs Ballingarry) that the County Bord Draw could be severely affected.”

Ballingarry vs St Mary’s was subsequently fixed for October 19th.

On October 15th, we received official confirmation that the South Final would be “Carrick Swans v St. Mary's or Ballingarry on 26th October 2013 in Kilsheelan at 4pm.”

On October 19th, St Marys defeated Ballingarry in Cahir to qualify for the 2013 South u16 ‘A’ Final.

In the week leading up to the South Final, which was due to finally take place on October 26th, our Juvenile Secretary was contacted via phone by St Marys and asked if we would switch the u16 South Final from Saturday to Sunday. When our u16 selectors declined this request, we were once again contacted by St Marys asking to change the time of throw in. Again, our club declined this request, which is understandable considering the hold up to the South u16 'A' Championship over the past six weeks and St Mary’s involvement in this hold up.

A member of Carrick Swan GAA Club, who is also an underage coach in our club, then received a phone call from a member of the St Mary’s management team, who is also a member of the Tipperary county ‘B’ u16 management team suggesting that the reason Carrick Swan wouldn’t switch the game was due to his panel selection at County level this year. This, of course, is complete nonsense.

The primary reason that the Carrick Swan u16 Management team didn’t switch the game was due to the inconveniences which have been primarily caused by St Marys of Clonmel, over the past six weeks. 

At 5.24pm on Friday evening, six minutes before management was due to meet with our u16 players regarding the South Final, we received official word that the South Final was off.

“An Coiste Na nÓg Tiobraid Theas  u/16 A hurling final fixed for Cill Sioláin on Saturday the 26th of October has been called off pending a hearing of Coiste Éisteachta Comhairle Na Mumhan CLG on Tuesday the 29th of October.”

What a coincidence...after St Marys of Clonmel tried to get the game switched!

Carrick Swan GAA Club are currently looking for answers to a number of questions including why the South Final was postponed when St Mary’s were allowed play their Semi Final?

We’ve received a number of excuses from different Bords in the County and it’s not good enough.

Carrick Swan u16s first met up on the weekend of January 26th this year to play a Fifa Xbox/Playstation competition in our clubhouse.

On Wednesday February 13th, our u16’s began collective training for the year. That’s 37 weeks ago this coming Wednesday. The commitment from the players has been outstanding. The support from the club has been brilliant. Anything we’ve asked for, we’ve received. Is it fair on the players, their families or the club to be caught in the middle of this saga?

In our Juvenile Centre, at the launch of our Strategic Vision & Action Plan 2013-2018 earlier this year, Tipperary County Board Chairman, Sean Nugent spoke about Carrick Swan’s commitment to promoting our National games in Carrick On Suir through the years. In fact, he also mentions this on page 3 of the plan document, in his County Board Chairman’s Address. The question I’d love Sean to answer is how does he expect our great club to promote our National games when his organisation keeps putting hurdles in our way?

We all love to talk about how great the GAA is, however when you’ve to deal with sagas and situations like the current one that our u16s find themselves in, through no fault of our own, it’s difficult to hold the organisation in such high regard.

A disgruntled and slightly disillusioned PRO & u16 Mentor,

Colm O’ Sullivan