Diarmaid Williams talks about the issue of the county board in GAA, something Liam O’ Neill and Davy Fitz have spoken strongly about.
This past week Davy Fitz professed the view that some county boards have no interest in hurling and he takes exception that these organisations have a say in how the game is run.
“Weather’s a curse”
“So are you”
When this forthright opinion was put to GAA President Liam O’Neill he countered by saying the game was not just for the elite.
They’re both right but maybe Liam at this moment is more in the right than Davy.
There’s no question, and I have personally experienced this from playing with a ‘lesser county’, but that for some county boards hurling is nothing more than the stone in their shoe.
Putting it up to the big ball bullies- Being from Laois, Liam is well placed to see the way things are done.
Every county in Ireland has, within the laws of the association, an obligation to promote both games. Some counties have done quite well at promoting both, most have one that is stronger than the other most of the time, but there are counties who do only token stuff to keep hurling going.
In some cases there is an almost hostile attitude to the small ball game. These boards know who they are.
So why indeed should some of their personnel have a say, when they are so negligent about the game within their own borders. When Davy speaks as straight as he has, he is looking at the hurling scene throughout the country for years. That’s been the broken record that’s been revolving for so long why should he or we expect any different?
Davy’s old man has been in the Clare County Board for decades now so he’ll probably have heard plenty about the attitudes heard at high level administration towards hurling from certain quarters.
To really see how bad things can get though you have to experience it yourself.
When your county board says they don’t want to rearrange club football championship fixtures to accommodate the county’s Nicky Rackard Cup championship game. When they feign ignorance of the inter-county hurling calendar, and put the pressure on the clubs to come to alternative arrangements, knowing that the clubs will make it difficult for their hurling playing footballers.
Actions speak louder than words and when Davy took aim it was those actions of the past that he was mindful of.
When Liam O’Neill spoke, he was taking the idealist position. He has already made progress in strengthening the game in the weaker counties, and he has decided to look to the future and a better time.
While Davy looks at how things have been and says let’s look after hurling in the places that really value it, O’Neill is saying yes, things haven’t been done properly but we are addressing that and we will continue to aspire to better days for the game nationwide.
O’Neill’s attitude is to be admired. In a way he’s continuing to put it up to those malign forces in particular county boards that want to be rid of the game in their domains.
It would suit the big ball bullies down to the ground if Davy’s approach was taken and only counties where hurling was looked after properly were involved in taking the sport forward.
Maybe some day we’ll see an All-Ireland Final featuring these two counties. How great would that be?
Sport Is Everything & Hurling Mad. Diarmaid Williams.
You can follow Diarmaid on Twitter via @DiarmaidWillia1