New GAA President, Liam O’Neill, set out his agenda for the next three years in his address to Congress. The Laois native intends to initially focus on aspects of games, including refereeing, discipline, fixtures planning and the promotion of hurling.
Mr O’Neill is conscious of the economic climate in which the GAA operates and intends to also focus on finance, infrastructure and the development of officers at all levels.
The third and most challenging area relates to keeping the youth involved in the GAA, recruiting new members within clubs, forming new clubs and the challenge of urbanisation around the country.
It is, undoubtedly, an ambitious programme but one worthy of support from all GAA units. We wish him well in his endeavours.
GAA Director General, Paraic Duffy, did not receive much of a reaction from Congress delegates to his annual report. Nevertheless, he took the opportunity to inform delegates that the GAA will be launching a major promotional campaign for the upcoming hurling and football championships.
Mr Duffy stressed that two major sporting events, the Heineken Cup and the European soccer championships, would clash with the early stages of the championships and he gave a commitment that a comprehensive marketing campaign would be undertaken to attract patrons to games.
The Director General appealed to counties to support the upcoming campaign. In this regard he stressed the importance of counties releasing teams to the media well in advance of games.
Many counties, including Kilkenny, do not release their championship line-outs until a day or two before the game, resulting in little analysis of the players or the upcoming tie. It will be interesting to see how many counties comply with the Director General’s request.