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Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Fear Manach

An Chomhdháil Bhliantuil 2023

December 4th, 2023

The 2023 Fermanagh GAA County Convention took place on Monday 4th December in the South West Collage, Enniskillen.

Chairperson’s Address to Convention Dec 2024
Is mor an honour dom a bheidh anseo anocht ar oiche do CLG Fhear Manach.

I am delighted to see that we have an excellent attendance from all the clubs of the county for our annual convention. I thank you all for your attendance and your valued participation. I express my sincere gratitude to you all for your dedication and commitment in promoting our games in your communities.

As I reflect on my 2nd year in office, probably the most outstanding feature of the Association that I have witnessed is the role that Fermanagh clubs play within their communities. The GAA is the beating heart within every town and village within the county, The health and wellbeing of all young and old is the corner stone of the Association within each club. Remove the club and whole social fabric of that area would fall apart.

The volunteer is the keystone that holds the GAA together, maybe the theme for the year ahead should be “Value the volunteer”.

The county secretary Tom has provided us with a comprehensive report on all County teams, it just remains for me to say thank you to all our managers, coaches, backroom teams, and players at every level in both hurling and football for the effort and commitment to Fermanagh GAA and for the many great days you give us in 2023.

Sponsors:
I thank all our sponsors and in particular our main sponsors Tracey Concrete Ltd, Mannok, Monaghan Bros, O Neills, Modern Tyres, Mc Mahon Healthcare, Beltertech, Westville Hotel, Crust and Crumb, Kevin Courtney, B Mc Caffrey and Sons and Peter Carty. Their continued support is the financial lifeblood of our association and provide much needed resources for the promotion of our games. They support us, so where possible please support them.

Clubs:
Thanks to all clubs who hosted county and club matches throughout the year. The pride shown by everyone involved and was commented on by visiting teams. To the many clubs who have completed major developments I congratulate you and to the clubs who are now embarking on major projects I wish you luck, at the end of the day your endeavours will be a legacy going forward for all your community.

Congratulations to all clubs from U13 up to senior level that won trophies this year. Well done to the clubs that went on to represent the county at Provincial level, Lisbellaw who were narrowly defeated in the UIHC after extra time, Erne Gaels in the UJHC, the first time in several years that Fermanagh have had two clubs representing the county in UCHC, Derrygonnelly Harps in the UCSFC Teemore Shamrocks the UCIFC and Lisnaskea Emmett’s who reached the semi-final of the UCJFC.

In this evening’s convention booklet, each subcommittee has provided a report on their activities during the year, I ask each one of you here to read the reports and highlight to your club the outstanding work that is been carried out at all levels within the county. I want to put on record my sincere thanks to each committee and thank the Chairpersons and Secretaries for their leadership and guidance during the year.

Finance/Club Eirne:
Club Eirne held a very successful Winahouseinfermanagh competition, full details of which will be outlined in the Club Eirne report. A huge thank you to everyone who supported the competition and congratulations to all who won prizes, but most of all thanks to the many people who promoted the competition and sold the tickets and to all the clubs for their support . All of this would not have been possible without the foresight and organisational skills of the committee under the expert guidance of Ger Treacy. The amount of time and energy given over to such a massive endeavour was beyond belief.

Behind all of this is our county treasurer Sean, I really don’t know how he does it, his ability to carry out the duties of county treasurer as well as all his other roles within his club and his community is amazing. I know that he re-evaluation of levies will be a high on the finance committee’s agenda for 2024.

To the merry band of gate personnel and stewards who have helped throughout the year at county and club championship matches, thank you.

Youth:
Our Youth Committee had a very busy year and I congratulate Leanne and her committee for ensuring that our young players were given plenty of game time during 2023.

They are several recommendations proposed by clubs in relation to age grades within the county, these will be discussed in detail at the January County Committee meeting and a decision made on what best suits Fermanagh.

CCC:

I thank our CCC Committee under the chairmanship of John and Secretary Phil for ensuring that our competitions were run in a timely and professional manner. I wish to think all the clubs for cooperating with our CCC.

Hearings:
Thanks to Hearing’s committee who perform a key role within the county, one indeed that is very often overlooked. Thank you, Pat, and Martin and all the members of the committee, for making yourself available very often at short notice.

Health and Wellbeing:
If there is one committee report that all clubs should focus in on it is The Health and Wellbeing Committee report and one section jumps of the page relates to “ The county critical incident plan all clubs should be aware of the support available from the Association should the need arise. This committee continues to promote Health and Wellbeing initiatives within the county. Well done to the clubs who have received The Healthy Club accreditation and I encourage more clubs to get involved, it can only be of benefit to everyone in the club and the local community. I thank you all for your support for our nominated charity “Friends of The Cancer Centre” a local charity enhancing care and support for thousands of people affected by cancer across the county.

The Hurling Development committee:
On behalf of everyone I would like to thank Nuala McCann for taking on the role of secretary of the hurling development committee a role which she carried out with great diligence and knowledge, unfortunately Nuala is stepping down as secretary and she will be missed but I know she will not be lost to hurling within the county. If anyone present would like to step into this position, just let me know.

The proposals in relation to hurling development in so called weaker counties was poorly thought out and in fact if implemented would only have hindered the whole development of hurling within the county and didn’t consider the tremendous progress that has taken place at underage level in Fermanagh. One may ask if those that came up with this proposal had even consulted the hurling fraternity within these so-called weaker counties. Was finance or hurling development the driving force behind the proposal?

Referees:
When we refer to the role of the volunteer, we must make reference to our loyal bunch of referees who perform the most thankless job of all our volunteers. The Respect Initiative is evident at our underage games but unfortunately abuse is still being hurled from the sidelines at the men in the middle. Indeed, the trend of managers/team mentors using after match comments to complain about our referees cannot be allowed and strict sanctions must be considered to eliminate such trends. Let us never forget—no referees—no matches. We are blessed to have such a competent group of excellent referees. I thank all our referees and the referee administration committee for the vital role you play in the provision of our fixtures. I encourage more young men and ladies to come forward and take up referring. I appeal to players, management, and supporters to respect all our matchofficials as they carry out their duties.

Coaching and Games:
To our coaching staff under the direction of Teresa McNabb Fermanagh Games Development Manager, thank you for all your hard work and dedication throughout the year. The Coaching & Games Report contained in tonight’s convention booklet outlines in detail the extraordinary amount of activity that was untaken by our coaches this year. It is important that all clubs are made fully aware of both the amount of work undertaken by our county coaches and the assistance that they can provide to clubs. I thank each and every one of them for their dedication and commitment. The whole area in relation to the roles and responsibilities of each of the coaching staff has undergone a total restructuring over the past year by the Association at national level, this has been an extremely long and drawn-out process but thankfully we are almost at an end. I would like to express my sincere thanks to former Football Development Manager Shaun Doherty for his work over the last seven years, I am sure you will join with me in wishing him well in the future.

The future of our games depends on our youth and the coaching structures we have in place, therefore the needs of the clubs in relation to coach education and the barriers they face must be paramount. With this in mind I believe the time is right to produce a youth development plan for the county linked to our overall strategic planand I will be asking the incoming Youth Committee together with the Coaching Committee, Club Youth / Coaching Officer (s) and County Coaching staff to take on this task as a matter of urgency.

Scor:
In 2023 two successful Scór competitions were held in March and September and its clear that Scór is growing in popularity among all clubs in Fermanagh. Comhghairdeas to all winners and well done on representing your clubs and county at provincial level. In 2024 Scór will return to the traditional calendar of Scór Sinsear in spring and Scór na nÓg in the autumn, we look forward to putting our best foot forward as a county with a proud Scór tradition. Finally, much credit must go to the wonderful singers on the Fear Manach panel of Amhrán na bhFiann performers. It was noticeable at the majority of championship games that our national anthem was sung by club members. We look forward to extending this further in 2024.

Safeguarding:
Anita our County Children’s officer has outlined in her report where we are in relation to safeguarding in the county, she also states that 2024 shall be a year to build on the foundations set in place over the past few years. One note of concern in Anita’s report is the behaviour of some adults at our underage games this year, this cannot continue and there is an onus on clubs to ensure that those responsible are held to account. Remember safeguarding is the responsibility of all of us and the wellbeing of our young players must be the number one priority. Thank you, Anita.

Safety and Facilities:
The chairperson of the Safety and Facilities Committee Sean has provided us with a detailed report on Lissan, recent new development, Health and Safety, Brewster Park development, Ulster Council Grants, Club Loans, and the EV Charging Scheme. This committee works tirelessly in the background to ensure that our facilities are fit for purpose and are continually upgraded to order to meet the needs of all our teams both at club and county level.

Communications:
Our PRO Deirdre and IT officer Niall continue to keep us right in relation to the whole area of communications especially the many social media platforms that now exist. Both have provided reports to convention but in all honesty, these are just a screenshot of all the work that they do on our behalf.

Media:
A word of thanks to all involved in the smooth running of Fermanagh TV especially Phil who has the role of producer, director, and anything else you care to mention. This is an invaluable resource and provides a platform which enables people from all over to view our games.

To the Fermanagh Herald and the Impartial Reporter, I say thank you for your coverage and promotion of our games in the county.

Catchment Areas:
Work continues to develop a policy around Club catchment areas with important decisions to be made early in 2024 regarding the future approach Fermanagh shall take in supporting our Clubs in the years ahead.Thanks to Tiernach his work group for undertaking such an onerous task.

Strategy:
2024 will be the final year of our current Strategic Plan (Ar aghaidh agus os a chionn Fear Manach). It is important that we look now at the way ahead for Fermanagh GAA in our ever-changing society and link our plan with that of the national GAA Plan (Aontas 2026) and the new Ulster GAA Plan to be launched in February 2024.

Audit and Risk:
The GAA in their wisdom requested that counties establish yet another committee “The Audit and Risk Committee”. It’s role as outlined in the official guide

“It shall support the Treasurer, the Management Committee, and the Finance Sub Committee in all financial and risk related matters.

It shall be responsible for the promotion and monitoring of good governance standards and risk management practices by the County Committee”.

I am indebted especially to Lauri McCusker for completing the audit in a professional way and highlighting what we are doing well and what still needs to be done.

Integration:
At National level, integration between the association, camogie and LGFA remains a priority and as barriers arise solution are sought. This whole process will not be completed by flicking a switch, decisions need to be made around governance structures, finance, facilities, insurance to name but a few.

Other Matters:
To most observers the role of CLCG is generally perceived as providing games. Few are aware of the Trojan work undertaken through coaching, our summer camps, health and wellbeing workshops, vetting of our volunteers and many more. We are indebted to all our officers who give of their time and energies in so many ways. We would be foolish to assume that it will remain so with the everyday demands of modern life. Our Primary and Post Primary schools as well as SWC are vital links in the promotion of our games. Are we as clubs giving the necessary support to our schools?

I thank Cumann na mBunscol and all the 2nd level schools as well as the SWC for the work they carry out within the county in respect of the promotion of our games.

Conclusion:
Finally, I would like to thank everyone at SWC for their assistance with the organisation of this evening’s county convention. to my fellow officers I say thank you for all you help and support during the year, a special word of thanks to our extremely dedicated County Rúnaí Tom Boyle who kept me on the straight and narrow during the year.

I want to extend to all who have suffered the loss of a loved one in the last twelve months our deepest condolences.

Ar dheis lamh De go raibh a anamacha.          

I thank you the clubs for your support throughout the year and I wish all present and your families a Happy Christmas and a successful 2024.

Go raibh maith agaibh go léir.      
Brian Armitage
Cathaóirleach

CONVENTION REPORTS

ELECTION OF OFFICERS

Ainmiucháin (Nominations)
Cathaoirleach (Chairperson) Brian Armitage (Outgoing)
Leas Cathaoirleach (Vice Chairperson)  John McGovern (Outgoing)
Rúnai Cúnta (Assistant Secretary) Phil Flanagan (Outgoing)
Cisteoir (Treasurer) Sean Burns (Outgoing)
Cisteoir Cúnta (Assistant Treasurer) TBC
Oifigeach Oiliúna (Coaching Officer) Ferghal O’Connor (Outgoing)
Oifigeach Cultúra & Gaeilge (Officer for Culture & Irish Language) Ciaran Maguire (Outgoing)
Oifigeach Caidreamh Poiblí (PRO) Deidre Felloni (Outgoing))
Ard Comhairle (Central Council) Tiernach Mahon (Outgoing)
Comhairle Uladh (Ulster Council) (2) Peter Carty (Outgoing) Greg Kelly(Outgoing)
Comhdháil Bhliantúil (Delegates to Congress) (2) Peter Carty Phil Flanagan
Comhairle Uladh Comhdháil Bhliantúil (Delegates to Ulster Convention) (2) Phil Flanagan John McGovern
Ceapacháin (Appointments)
Oifigeach Pléanála agus Traenála (Planning and Training Officer) Tiernach Mahon
Oifigeach na bPáistí (Children’s Officer) Anita Kehoe

MOTIONS

MOTION 1 – Passed unanimously 
That Rule 6.15 Official Guide Part 1 be amended to:
The All-Ireland Senior & Minor Finals shall be played in Croke Park. The Finals shall be played on or before the last Sunday in July on dates determined by the Central Council with the All-Ireland Minor Football and Hurling Finals to be played immediately prior to their respective Senior Finals.
In exceptional circumstances the Central Council may make other arrangements.

CLG Mhic Uidhir, An t-Iompú Deiseal

MOTION 2 – Passed unanimously
Draw for the Ulster Football Club Championships:
The system in place for carrying out the draw for the Ulster Club Football Championships at Senior and Intermediate grade for future years shall mirror that which is used for the Ulster Senior Football Championship. A two-year exclusion period from the Preliminary Round shall be introduced to be applicable to counties drawn out in 2024 and subsequent years.

For the 2024 club championship draw- ‘that the champions of the two counties drawn out first will be exempt from the Preliminary round for 2025 and 2026’.

CLG Chláirseacha Dhoire Ó gConaíle

 

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