THE silence at all levels the followed the horrific injuries suffered by Kilkenny players, T.J. Reid and Michael Rice during the senior hurling championship of 2012 has been condemned by a leading member of the Supporters Club.
“I wonder what the reaction would have been had these injuries been inflicted by Kilkenny,” challenged Kilkenny Supporters Club secretary, Jim Freeman during his annual address.
“I wish to put on record my utter disgust at not alone the manner in which these injuries were inflicted, but also the silence which these injuries were greeted by the authorities within the GAA, and also the media,” Mr Freeman added. “As far as I am concerned, if you are not seen to condemn such acts, you are in effect condoning them.”
On behalf of the ’Club he thanked Brian Cody, his management team, backroom staff and players for another wonderful year of entertainment, culminating in the winning of the Walsh Cup, National League and All-Ireland.
“Once again they overcame all situations confronted,” the secretary continued. “For example, there were the tactics employed by Tipperary and the plan which Galway put in place for the All-Ireland final. Surly it is time this wonderful bunch of players was given the credit they deserve.”
He congratulated Noel Hickey and Henry Shefflin on winning their ninth All-Ireland senior medals, and thanked the now retired Noel Hickey for his great service to the county.
The membership of the ’Club has reached 1,264. A big effort will be put into improving this by getting at least one person in each parish to promote the club.
During the year Kilkenny began using Face book to help promote the ’Club.
“We are very aware of the danger of misusing this forum, and to that end we use it for information purposes only,” he pointed out.
The Business Membership increased to 143. The majority of the Business Members were generated by calling to businesses around Kilkenny.
“We had very few refusals,” Mr Freeman revealed. “I would like to thank all who played a part in generating this income.”
During the year, with the assistance of Kilkenny PRO, Conor Denieffe and Liam Dewberry the ’Club developed an excellent website presentation.
Thanks to the work and foresight of chairman, John Mackey, Kilkenny again produced an excellent calendar and this project generated excellent returns. Again the Christmas cards proved a bit hit with fans.
Despite the economic climate, sales in the ’Club shop went well. This was helped greatly by the sale of signed jerseys for pubs and businesses.
“In the current climate we have to be mindful of the cost of items,” Mr Freeman said. “To this end we decided to look at selling less expensive goods which were within budget for families. As an example, we obtained face tattoos which fell into that category.”
Shortly they will have school rulers available with pictures of the senior panel members on them.
The disco at City West on the night of the replayed All-Ireland final, and in particular the disco which Eamon Langton and his sons Eddie and Conor held for the ’Club in Langton’s Hotel on the night of the homecoming generated great income, despite the fact that due to the replay many students had returned to college.
“A very pleasing aspect of all our fund-raising ventures was that we did not expose the ’Club to any loss making situations,” Mr Freeman revealed. “In the current economic climate the Golf Classic or Corporate lunch at Leopardstown and so on are areas to be avoided. We need to concentrate on areas where we can get a guaranteed return.”
The ’Club gave financial support to schools coaching; the hurley equipment Schools Scheme; Kilkenny GAA Yearbook; secondary Teachers Factory Championship team; Fr Tom Maher book; Dicksboro Feile Peile team; James Stephens Feile team; senior panels weekend away training sessions; team holiday.
In addition, they played a part in the following – the Corporate Night at Langton’s Hotel; hurlers training and holiday draw; sale of team photographs; All-Ireland banquet at City West.
“One of the most pleasing and heartening achievements during the year was the display of the Tony Forestall team when winning the tournament in Waterford,” the secretary continued. “We have some of the best talent at this grade for years. I look forward to seeing many of these players realising their full potential over the coming years.”
On behalf of the ’Club he thanked school teachers, club officials and Development Squad coaches for their outstanding work with young talent.
He congratulated the County Board and Management Committee for again ending the year with a surplus.
“When you see what was achieved in 2012 and how a lot of other counties who have had nowhere near the amount of success we have are in financial difficulty, it makes this achievement all the more remarkable,” Mr Freeman suggested.
“Its great to see the work on the Dunmore is well under way,” he continued. “We look forward to this great facility being completed, and at little or no cost to clubs.”
He thanked Ned Quinn for his work on this project, and also for his outstanding achievement in getting a concert over two days at Nowlan Park which will not only financially benefit the GAA but also businesses in Kilkenny.
“During the year we formed a branch in London,” Mr Freeman revealed. “I would like to thank chairman, John Mackey and former County Board chairman, Paul Kinsella for their work in setting up this branch.
“It will give Kilkenny people in the London area a place to meet and at the same time play their part in supporting their county.”
The ’Club is also working with a group of Kilkenny people and others in Northern Ireland to set up a Northern branch, apparently.
The Kildare branch continues to thrive under the leadership of Dr Sean Dunne.
The ’Club’s statement of finances was adopted at County Board Convention. The club raised nearly 110,500 Euro during 2012, which was a healthy increase of nearly 15,000 on the previous year.
Officers elected - John Mackey (chairman); Eddie Keher (vice-chairman); Jim Freeman (secretary/assistant treasurer); Sean Dunne (assistant secretary); Barry Hickey (treasurer); Ned Buggy (PRO).
Committee - Caroline Brennan, Martin Dowling, Jim Kearns, Frank Morrissey, Seamus O’Farrell.