Offaly County Board Thread

A forum to air your views on Offaly GAA matters and beyond.

Offaly County Board Thread

Postby Wing Back » Wed May 18, 2016 10:39 am

As detailed by LLKJ in another thread I think a separate thread to voice our grievances around the County Board and it’s short comings for both Hurling and Football is appropriate. At least contributors to the site have a location to post their opinions and views on some of the poor decisions and lack of transparency surrounding certain issues, instead of them getting lost in other threads and taking other threads off topics that they were originally created for.

Also, when the county board do some good work this thread can be used to voice praise in their direction also.

After recent events off the field it seem more than likely to be the former I would imagine

I’ll start with the praise over the last 12 months

Praise
• Approving a couple of Offaly senior games to be played in Birr for appropriate crowd size
• Putting committee in place to select a Senior Manager and not doing this themselves as their track record was appalling.
• Putting the wheels in motion for Centre of Excellence
• Implementing a good central website for Fixtures, Results and tables

And now just a few on their shortcomings

Criticism
• Ignoring Hurling Development Pathway Report since December 2014
• Failing to explain why the report was ignored for so long
• Implementing a Media Ban against Midlands 103 and Newstalk among others
• U21 Football Manager fiasco last year
• Stalling of progress on Centre of Excellence
• Club delegates who attend County Board meeting becoming mute
• CB secretary saying publicly (before media ban) that there was no explanation for our loss to Westmeath
• No attempt to keep Offaly supporter informed about the above issues and ignoring attempts from their supporters to find out answers.

These are only instances that have occurred over the last 12 months or so. But the County Board has a lot to answer for going back decades particularly when it comes to the development of underage. This is why the so much has been made of a detailed report on short comings of underage and how we can improve, being ignored by Padraig Boland. The list of criticisms is much longer than praise and there would have been more criticisms if I was to go back further, with very little items to praise them about. The funniest one of the above is definitely what our secretary said to the independent about there being no explanation for the loss to Westmeath. You'd have to wonder if he actually even watches hurling after a statement like that.

Hopefully this thread can be used for contributors to vent their opinions and views on the above issues and any other items that involve the County Board.

In Summary they have a lot to answer for though.
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Re: Offaly County Board Thread

Postby sam88885a » Wed May 18, 2016 12:28 pm

good post wing back .
u seen to be really struggling to find items to praise the county board for and i think u may be mistaken by putting the committee that selected e kelly on the positive list .
the chairman of that committee was liam sheedy a work mate of e kelly and liam sheedy is mentor to e kelly as offaly manager .
even if u chose to ignore that , look at the panel of players e kelly has and look at the results ,first loss to kerry in over 60 year and first loss to westmeath in over 40 years .
to me we are bringing lightweight boxers to a heavy weight fight and seem surprised at the results .
i honestly cannot see e kellys appointment as a positive , yes he has introduced positive link to ait and he has put some good structures in place but he has completely failed to bring offaly hurling people with him and he trashed offaly hurling at every turn unlike pat flannagan who infectious positive attitude seem like dream world some time .
how often have we heard him say offaly have lot of good footballers and we are in one county that could take dublin .
the sad thing is a huge amount of hurling supporters will stay at home to watch tipp and cork on sunday .
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Re: Offaly County Board Thread

Postby Wing Back » Wed May 18, 2016 2:19 pm

sam88885a wrote:good post wing back .
u seen to be really struggling to find items to praise the county board for and i think u may be mistaken by putting the committee that selected e kelly on the positive list .
the chairman of that committee was liam sheedy a work mate of e kelly and liam sheedy is mentor to e kelly as offaly manager .
even if u chose to ignore that , look at the panel of players e kelly has and look at the results ,first loss to kerry in over 60 year and first loss to westmeath in over 40 years .
to me we are bringing lightweight boxers to a heavy weight fight and seem surprised at the results .
i honestly cannot see e kellys appointment as a positive , yes he has introduced positive link to ait and he has put some good structures in place but he has completely failed to bring offaly hurling people with him and he trashed offaly hurling at every turn unlike pat flannagan who infectious positive attitude seem like dream world some time .
how often have we heard him say offaly have lot of good footballers and we are in one county that could take dublin .
the sad thing is a huge amount of hurling supporters will stay at home to watch tipp and cork on sunday .


If you look at my post I wasn’t actually praising the fact that it was Eamon Kelly who was put in charge…..I was praising that a committee was put in place to select a new manager as opposed to what went on with other appointments in the past for Offaly teams at all levels. (Brian Whelahan selection process, U21 Football manager selection process etc.)

Now I have my issues with Kelly and the way he lines up his team, but he can only work with what he has at his disposal and the players that have committed their services. It’s easy criticising now after the Westmeath match but during the league up to the Kerry game everything was probably going as well as could be expected. Players’ dropping themselves since then has not made things any easier for him. Overall I don’t blame him really at all, I blame the county board for poor development of hurling in the county over the last 2 decades for where we find ourselves now…..and I think that fact is glaringly obvious and using weather you think Kelly is good bad or indifferent is a very minor issue in comparison.

You referred to a good point though on Sheedy. That is another thing I would like queried and for the county board to be transparent on. How much was he paid while on this committee and what are his duties and how much is he being paid as an adviser to the current management? His role at the moment seems pretty distant.
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Re: Offaly County Board Thread

Postby keyboardwarrior » Wed May 18, 2016 3:57 pm

sam88885a wrote: but he has completely failed to bring offaly hurling people with him


And the difference to this (if as you so allege to be the case is true) to all previous managers going back to Pat Fluery is what exactly?

At what point do the sacred 'Offaly hurling people' come under the microscope for their own part played in the hen run of an operation that has gone on at underage level since the mid-90s?

How many 'Offaly Hurling people' were in attendance at the most recent county board meeting where the continuing non-implementation of the report presented last year was effectively ratified ? Was it a room full of football men?

And for all ye giving out about Kelly, Sheedy etc what do you have to say about the two men charged with the selection of short-listing candidates (more like begging candidates) for the vacant role? Joe Brady and Rory Hannify (that’s j brady and r hannify to you sam88885a).

Two of the most honourable and lion-hearted men ever to wear the tricolour who selflessly gave all time and time again during some of our darkest days.

Did they get it wrong? Do you know more about Offaly hurling (or the wider national hurling scene) than they do?

Enlighten us please …
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Re: Offaly County Board Thread

Postby Efan » Thu May 19, 2016 10:07 am

Great post Wing Back ....
Out of all the points mentioned ignoring Hurling Development Pathway Report since December 2014 is the most baffling.

Is it old fashioned "politics" at play whereby the structural reform proposed in the report is taken as criticism and untimely the driver not to want to engage with the committee?

The only way to know for certain is for the Chairman/PRO to honestly say why the Hurling Development Pathway has been ignored for so long. Not to give any reason is to treat the much lorded offaly hurling people with complete contempt. This whole 18 month fiasco should un-bottle way more anger than any result we have all season but sadly we drift on .....
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Re: Offaly County Board Thread

Postby Toxicity234 » Thu May 19, 2016 11:07 am

Has anyone got a copy of the report.
I've asked a number of sources and still haven't seen it.

Anyone have it. i would love to have a read of it.
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Re: Offaly County Board Thread

Postby Toxicity234 » Thu May 19, 2016 11:39 am

The other thing they should be praised for the the link with Athlone IT to improve players fitness and conditions.

I remember an interview with René Meulensteen when asked about football get paid millions and training (once a day) 4 time a week and a game at the weekend and sitting around for the rest of the week.
His response was that he would disciple any players doing any extra fitness training cause the most important part of fitness training was rest. If they don't get the correct rest, They won't be able to push them self in training and in game will be mental tired, make bad decisions on the field.
Our hurling manager have misused the link to athlone it this years. Lets hope we get the balance correct over the next few years.
But having the link in place is great news for the future of all Offaly team.
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Re: Offaly County Board Thread

Postby Plain of the Herbs » Fri May 20, 2016 4:19 pm

This is the thing . . . why was the report suppressed?

Who is protected by the report's non-discussion?

Why is the work of Liam Hogan and his team disrespected?

Who is afraid of the report?

And who is afraid of the possible recovery (or at least the possible arrest of the decline) of Offaly hurling?

I doubt anyone believes the report was suddenly going to be discussed once Offaly exited the championship (which year's championship, incidentally?). Because the focus of the clubs is on the county championship then. So we can take it that's an excuse.
Efan wrote:Great post Wing Back ....
Out of all the points mentioned ignoring Hurling Development Pathway Report since December 2014 is the most baffling.

Is it old fashioned "politics" at play whereby the structural reform proposed in the report is taken as criticism and untimely the driver not to want to engage with the committee?

The only way to know for certain is for the Chairman/PRO to honestly say why the Hurling Development Pathway has been ignored for so long. Not to give any reason is to treat the much lorded offaly hurling people with complete contempt. This whole 18 month fiasco should un-bottle way more anger than any result we have all season but sadly we drift on .....
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: Offaly County Board Thread

Postby sam88885a » Fri May 20, 2016 4:37 pm

Agree poth , There must be a better reason for suppressing the report .
Surely while players are busy with the county is the time for clubs to discuss the report which was from october onwards.

Its the clubs that produce the players and the county borrows them ,so if we are to recover the cb needs to respect the clubs and put plans in place in every club to develope underage hurling .

The cb seems to live in a different world.
Some club are doing the work but we need all clubs to come up to a basic standard .
The cb board should drive that instead of sitting on it in my opinion.
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Re: Offaly County Board Thread

Postby jimbob17 » Fri May 20, 2016 11:28 pm

Somehow i feel that finance was an issue. Without knowing what was in the report but reading between the lines, id feel that there were things that lay within the report that would have demanded doing things properly that would have demanded a little bit of financing. Could be wrong but it wouldnt surprise me in the slightest.
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Re: Offaly County Board Thread

Postby greenairfield » Sat May 21, 2016 1:18 am

I think the main reason the report wasn't brought out was that one of the proposals was bring back hurling to Birr.

A sore point for the county board.
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Re: Offaly County Board Thread

Postby Lone Shark » Sat May 21, 2016 1:51 am

greenairfield wrote:I think the main reason the report wasn't brought out was that one of the proposals was bring back hurling to Birr.

A sore point for the county board.


Just to clear up this point, the report does "favour" Birr, however it is not remotely clear what exactly they are advocating. Firstly, it writes on the basis that the official capacity of St Brendan's Park is 11,000 people. I have tried over and over to get official confirmation from Birr GAA club that this is accurate, since if it is, then that changes the goalposts completely. A capacity of 11,000, meeting Slattery report criteria and rubber stamped as such, opens the door for county hurling finals (and thus semi-finals as well, since semis and finals should be in the same location out of fairness) not to mention 90% of county games to be played in SBP. Given that Birr GAA club have now agreed to let the county board run their gates and to decline a ground rent, that would be a game changer - the case for playing far, far more games in the ground would be overwhelming in that case. However I find it odd that if they do have this capacity, that Birr aren't shouting this from the rooftops and waving the paperwork around for all to see. Hence my confusion.

To quote the report exactly:

We readily acknowledged the pride that is felt in having a pitch and facilities that match any in the country at O’Connor Park in Tullamore.
However, given the hold that St. Brendan’s Park in Birr has on the heart of every hurling fan in Offaly, meaningful dialogue must be held within the county, to discuss the return of some hurling games to this iconic venue. It is immediately recognised that certain Health and Safety issues presently prevent full use of the ground. We must also emphasise that this must not be seen as an attempt to get to play all Hurling matches in Birr. It makes no sense to be bringing two Offaly clubs who are located close to St Brendan’s Park in Birr, to Tullamore (capacity 20,000) for a game, just as it makes no sense that two teams located close to O’Connor Park should be brought to Birr to play their game.


and also:

The Hurling Review Committee recommends that the Implementation Committee appoint a three person committee with the necessary skill set to investigate the problems and to establish the procedures necessary to resolve the St Brendan’s Park issue permanently. It has unnecessarily become a divisive issue in Offaly GAA and it needs to be resolved sooner rather than later.


If I was a member of the county board management committee and such a measure had been democratically voted in, I'd have difficulty implementing it simply because I have no idea what exactly that means. There's far too much scope for interpretation in there. And that's before we talk about lines like "the hold that SBP has on the heart of every hurling fan....." which is emotive nonsense by any stretch of the imagination. Let's not forget that huge numbers of younger fans in this county grew up without ever walking through the gates of SBP because the ground was closed. Are they not included in the list of "every hurling fan in Offaly" as a result?
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Re: Offaly County Board Thread

Postby Lone Shark » Sat May 21, 2016 2:41 am

On the main topic of this thread, which is the county board as a whole, I think there is the chance to be quite informative here. Lots of good GAA people in Offaly simply aren't aware of the different things that are going on at county level, in part because of the dysfunctional way in which county board delegates are chosen at club AGMs. In far too many cases, the role is seen as too trivial to be given to a good person - it would be seen as a "waste" to put a go-getter like Joe or Josephine Bloggs in as county board delegate when there are roles like Treasurer, Secretary, PRO, and various finance committee positions all to be filled. In many, many cases that I've seen, the county board delegate in a club is given to a local diehard who lives and breathes the sport but has completely lost touch with the modern game, and doesn't understand the responsibility that' attached to the position. Huge numbers of them wouldn't know how to use email, much less how to circulate information from county board meetings back to their own committee via that method, and the monthly meeting in O'Connor Park is perceived as a nice social event - a chance to catch up with similar folk from other clubs on a Tuesday evening and share war stories.


Likewise, I think that it's fair to say that many of the officers on the county board at the moment came in at a time when there were countless land mines waiting to blow up. In fairness to them, positive steps have been taken in a lot of areas, such as:

(1) The county finances were a mess and while we're still not generating anything like as much income as we'd like, we are living within our means and have been helped out with some aid and a restructuring package.
(2) The Faithful Fields project was launched. Admittedly it has lost momentum recently and I believe there is a real danger that the readjustment to just four dressing rooms is a huge mistake, however there was a real problem here and steps have been taken to address it.
(3) As discussed, the process of appointing county managers was taken away from officials and put in the hands of specialised committees. You may agree or disagree with their choice, but it's hard to argue with the process.
(4) Huge strides have been made in terms of the numbers of qualified coaches at all levels - I'm looking for confirmation on the exact numbers but from a very low base, we're now in a much better position in terms of the number of certified coaches in the county.
(5) Developing the Athlone IT/Emmet Egan relationship, one which I believe will prove hugely beneficial.
(6) Playing their part in healing the divide between several clubs around the Birr area - mainly the Birr/Crinkill debate. There is now a framework there and while it continues to need work, that was no small matter at the time.
(7)The creation of a county administrator role, with largely external funding.

On the flip side the board has to stand indicted for the ongoing drought in terms of Leinster success in either football or hurling at minor/U21/senior. We've now had 15 barren years, and if you include this year's minor hurling and U21 football, that's 92 tilts in a row at Leinster championships without success. You can of course argue that some blame belongs with previous administrations and you'd be right, but some share of blame has to fall to the current management committee - even if the proportion is very much up for debate.

Other areas where I feel they've fallen short are:

(1) Recruitment - too few people do too much of the work, and this shows at times. They've struggled to get people involved and while the general public has to accept a share of that blame, they are perceived as distant from the general public - and that's a problem.
(2) Communication - this has been a real issue. By my count we've had at least five different acting/permanent PRO's in the last six years since Brendan Minnock left the post and while I'll lay my cards on the table and say that Brendan has become a friend of mine and is a man that I have a world of respect for, the flow of information since his departure has been poor to say the least of it. Also, I've been spoiled in the last few years dealing with Colm Beirne in Roscommon - like Brendan, he was truly outstanding - genuinely excellent at his job, and it would be hard for anyone to measure up to that.
That's not laying everything on the door of some of those who've taken on the role, as it has become a gargantuan one after all. Yet far too often there has been a decision taken to deliberately keep local media in the dark about what's going on - while perversely, the national media gets fed the truth. The debacle with the county U21 football manager appointment was one perfect example of this. People should remember that in the Autumn, when the national media are busy rehashing schyte about Dublin vs Kerry from the 1980's in advance of another Croke Park clash between the two, it's the local media that will be asked to help drum up interest for the big club games that will be played here in Offaly. That's as it should be, but it needs to be a proper two-way relationship.
On a wider scale, this county board is badly in need of new people and increased support from the general GAA public - yet we have local media bans, and I'm still waiting on word back to say whether or not it's okay to publish the full Hurling Pathway document. They have to do better at giving people a chance to buy into what's happening.
(3) There is a huge lack of joined up thinking, which feeds back to the absence of an overall strategy. In any voluntary organisation, the ideal scenario is to have a good mix of public sector people and private sector people on your management committee. The public sector folk are good to keep things running from day to day and to keep the train on the track from one end of the week to the next, the private sector folk tend to be more focussed on the big picture, looking at where we want to go in 3/5/10 year's time, and putting in place a vision of how to get there. Of course those are gross generalisations, but they tend to be accurate. In Offaly we have a huge bias towards public sector people, and that has manifested itself in the type of achievements you've seen above - diplomacy, negotiation, process, but also in the lack of an overarching plan or a visionary-type leader to sell that plan to the public and to garner widespread buy in.

Then of course you have individual instances of failure, and the debacle surrounding the hurling report is typical of that. From what I've heard, those that are getting the blame might not be the main reason why it was actually held back for as long as it was, but regardless of that, it should have been driven forward - or else put to the clubs and rejected, and then move on with plan B.

However this is a big reason of why I like this thread - that when looking back on an administration, or individual administrators, then the measure of success or failure should be a broad view of everything that was in their remit for a time - and I would still be of the belief that while Offaly is still very much a sick patient in the GAA world, a lot of hard medicine has been taken and we aren't suffering from all the symptoms any more - just some of them.
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Re: Offaly County Board Thread

Postby manfromdelmonte » Sun May 22, 2016 4:51 pm

Look, a huge issue is clubs not doing enough work at underage and with the primary and secondary schools.

If the clubs had the demand for more games, more competitions and more coaching courses and workshops then the county board might respond

Is there any club in the county that you could hold up as a model of how to run their underage development and their coaching within the county?
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Re: Offaly County Board Thread

Postby SearingDrive » Sun May 22, 2016 5:44 pm

Lone Shark wrote:On the main topic of this thread, which is the county board as a whole, I think there is the chance to be quite informative here. Lots of good GAA people in Offaly simply aren't aware of the different things that are going on at county level, in part because of the dysfunctional way in which county board delegates are chosen at club AGMs. In far too many cases, the role is seen as too trivial to be given to a good person - it would be seen as a "waste" to put a go-getter like Joe or Josephine Bloggs in as county board delegate when there are roles like Treasurer, Secretary, PRO, and various finance committee positions all to be filled. In many, many cases that I've seen, the county board delegate in a club is given to a local diehard who lives and breathes the sport but has completely lost touch with the modern game, and doesn't understand the responsibility that' attached to the position. Huge numbers of them wouldn't know how to use email, much less how to circulate information from county board meetings back to their own committee via that method, and the monthly meeting in O'Connor Park is perceived as a nice social event - a chance to catch up with similar folk from other clubs on a Tuesday evening and share war stories.


Likewise, I think that it's fair to say that many of the officers on the county board at the moment came in at a time when there were countless land mines waiting to blow up. In fairness to them, positive steps have been taken in a lot of areas, such as:

(1) The county finances were a mess and while we're still not generating anything like as much income as we'd like, we are living within our means and have been helped out with some aid and a restructuring package.
(2) The Faithful Fields project was launched. Admittedly it has lost momentum recently and I believe there is a real danger that the readjustment to just four dressing rooms is a huge mistake, however there was a real problem here and steps have been taken to address it.
(3) As discussed, the process of appointing county managers was taken away from officials and put in the hands of specialised committees. You may agree or disagree with their choice, but it's hard to argue with the process.
(4) Huge strides have been made in terms of the numbers of qualified coaches at all levels - I'm looking for confirmation on the exact numbers but from a very low base, we're now in a much better position in terms of the number of certified coaches in the county.
(5) Developing the Athlone IT/Emmet Egan relationship, one which I believe will prove hugely beneficial.
(6) Playing their part in healing the divide between several clubs around the Birr area - mainly the Birr/Crinkill debate. There is now a framework there and while it continues to need work, that was no small matter at the time.
(7)The creation of a county administrator role, with largely external funding.

On the flip side the board has to stand indicted for the ongoing drought in terms of Leinster success in either football or hurling at minor/U21/senior. We've now had 15 barren years, and if you include this year's minor hurling and U21 football, that's 92 tilts in a row at Leinster championships without success. You can of course argue that some blame belongs with previous administrations and you'd be right, but some share of blame has to fall to the current management committee - even if the proportion is very much up for debate.

Other areas where I feel they've fallen short are:

(1) Recruitment - too few people do too much of the work, and this shows at times. They've struggled to get people involved and while the general public has to accept a share of that blame, they are perceived as distant from the general public - and that's a problem.
(2) Communication - this has been a real issue. By my count we've had at least five different acting/permanent PRO's in the last six years since Brendan Minnock left the post and while I'll lay my cards on the table and say that Brendan has become a friend of mine and is a man that I have a world of respect for, the flow of information since his departure has been poor to say the least of it. Also, I've been spoiled in the last few years dealing with Colm Beirne in Roscommon - like Brendan, he was truly outstanding - genuinely excellent at his job, and it would be hard for anyone to measure up to that.
That's not laying everything on the door of some of those who've taken on the role, as it has become a gargantuan one after all. Yet far too often there has been a decision taken to deliberately keep local media in the dark about what's going on - while perversely, the national media gets fed the truth. The debacle with the county U21 football manager appointment was one perfect example of this. People should remember that in the Autumn, when the national media are busy rehashing schyte about Dublin vs Kerry from the 1980's in advance of another Croke Park clash between the two, it's the local media that will be asked to help drum up interest for the big club games that will be played here in Offaly. That's as it should be, but it needs to be a proper two-way relationship.
On a wider scale, this county board is badly in need of new people and increased support from the general GAA public - yet we have local media bans, and I'm still waiting on word back to say whether or not it's okay to publish the full Hurling Pathway document. They have to do better at giving people a chance to buy into what's happening.
(3) There is a huge lack of joined up thinking, which feeds back to the absence of an overall strategy. In any voluntary organisation, the ideal scenario is to have a good mix of public sector people and private sector people on your management committee. The public sector folk are good to keep things running from day to day and to keep the train on the track from one end of the week to the next, the private sector folk tend to be more focussed on the big picture, looking at where we want to go in 3/5/10 year's time, and putting in place a vision of how to get there. Of course those are gross generalisations, but they tend to be accurate. In Offaly we have a huge bias towards public sector people, and that has manifested itself in the type of achievements you've seen above - diplomacy, negotiation, process, but also in the lack of an overarching plan or a visionary-type leader to sell that plan to the public and to garner widespread buy in.

Then of course you have individual instances of failure, and the debacle surrounding the hurling report is typical of that. From what I've heard, those that are getting the blame might not be the main reason why it was actually held back for as long as it was, but regardless of that, it should have been driven forward - or else put to the clubs and rejected, and then move on with plan B.

However this is a big reason of why I like this thread - that when looking back on an administration, or individual administrators, then the measure of success or failure should be a broad view of everything that was in their remit for a time - and I would still be of the belief that while Offaly is still very much a sick patient in the GAA world, a lot of hard medicine has been taken and we aren't suffering from all the symptoms any more - just some of them.

Very good point re County Board delegates, The County Board is not the executive alone, it is the club delegates and the executive acting together. A bit like Dáil Éireann itch no indep ndents or loony lefties!
Seriously though LoneShark has some good comments on the positive developments by OCB, and the areas which need improvement.
One gripe former is the lack of Offaly results in Monday's Independent, we are the only county which do not feature results for the benefit of supportershome and away.
The answer I received recently was there is a issue with the Independent, and thePRO was working on it, but this has been a problem for a few years. I think putting results up nowadays should be a priority, and no problem in the modern era of social media.
Praise for the Co. Board for their good points listed by LS.
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