greenairfield wrote:Yes I am very much in the know Kevin much like yourself...
Birr never asked for 15% as I said they wouldn't be so stupid too or let by the members even If they wanted too!
Birr is a fine fine place playing surface is exceptional they have spend 10k + in the last two seasons on it, getting it spiked and sanded, and you really can see the improvement this year on the surface!!
What's your views on the recent CB meeting when 10 clubs (9 others and Birr) looked for return of games in SBP and the CB more or less gave them the 2 fingers...what's your thoughts on that?
With regard to the ground rent issue, I've had reliable sources tell me they are looking for it, and reliable sources tell me that they're not. I will be exploring this properly over the winter and the annual accounts from both the Offaly county board and the Birr club (as per their AGM) will tell a lot. Genuinely, there are very few people who know this with certainty one way or another, so I'm not going to get drawn into gossip and hearsay.
The surface has been much better this year, which is a big factor in why I believe that more games should go to Birr. - just not necessarily the ripest plums that are most desired by the club. I'd feel a little better if just once, I heard of a game going ahead in Birr when other venues around were waterlogged, particularly with a view towards games in the Leinster club championship or National League. You often hear of games going ahead in Tullamore when other grounds are closed, but I've yet to hear of that happening in Birr - look what happened in the Walsh Cup this year, and that's the kind of stuff that does hurt attendances. Similarly, on the early championship weekend when a lot of games were rained off, Birr was unable to take more than one game despite being asked to do so, while other grounds were able to take up more of the slack at a time when they were needed. But if I had my way, then a lot more county minor games and fixtures from competitions like the club intermediate championships would be played there - games that get played in the height of summer when water isn't an issue.
I do believe that there should be fewer club senior championship games in O'Connor Park, but for me the problem there wasn't that Birr didn't get enough games, it was that the other club venues (with the exception of Banagher) all got short shrift. In fairness, I will say here that the county board took a lot of criticism over this and they appeared to change tack in the latter rounds - so if we're going to criticise them when they do it wrong, it's only fair to praise them when they do it right. Round robin games don't need big stadia, and hosting a senior club championship tie is a big deal for a club.
With regard to the recent county board meeting, I can see both sides of the argument.
I stand by my view that it's only fair to play the semi-finals in the same venue as the final, and Birr still have some work to do to get to a standard where they could host the county final. Until their capacity is up over 8,000, a final in Birr would have to be all ticket, and that's not something anybody with Offaly's interests at heart would want. I'm also conscious of the fact that the matter wasn't on the pre-circulated agenda - so while a lot of clubs who are known to favour more games in SBP were present, and I can only assume that this was discussed among them beforehand, there were a lot of clubs who were unrepresented as well. For example I know that Kilcormac-Killoughey weren't represented there, and there are five or six more clubs that were absent. Who's to say they wouldn't have made more of an effort to be there to have their views heard if they knew that this was going to be talked about?
Now I would have limited enough sympathy for clubs that don't attend county board meetings and who then come out giving out about decisions that are taken, however I don't think it's unreasonable to expect democracy to be enforced in the right way. Consequently I'd say that Birr should put down a motion, get it on the agenda, and canvas. If they get a majority verdict that way, then I'd absolutely respect it and would expect the CCC to do their best to honour that motion - bearing in mind that ultimately, fixtures are an issue for the CCC, and not the county management committee.
Kevin Egan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.