By Damian Dolan
London GAA county board chairperson John Lacey thanked delegates at Sunday’s Convention for a “massive vote of confidence” after being re-elected for a fifth year, and has made tackling the number of walkovers one of his main priorities for 2020.
Mr Lacey, who is in his second spell as London Chair, won a vote with John Doyle of Fulham Irish by 67 votes to 16 at McGovern Park, Ruislip.
In 2019 there were 66 walkovers, a number which equates to 20 per cent of all fixtures (349 games in total). Most of these occurred in the early part of the season.
“This is extremely concerning and requires immediate discussion,” Mr Lacey told delegates.
“It is very important that things go as planned, to the committee, competition sponsors and spectators.”
He added: “We have a great nucleus of sponsors and we remain very grateful – it is a great indicator that we are doing the right things.
“[But] walkovers are not impressing our existing sponsors, and hinder new ones.”
Mr Lacey used his address to reaffirm the purpose of Convention and the London Board – to facilitate the survival and growth of clubs in London.
With that in mind, he said he would take up the issue of players transferring into London, who “are not taking part” in the GAA. Mr Lacey said he and his Board would explore whether they could be “encouraged” to get involved.
At youth level, Mr Lacey praised the “fantastic work” being done, but said “participation needs to increase” if the county is to reach its potential in football.
“We should have more than four teams in the under 17 age group, and I know this of great concern.” he said.
Mr Lacey also praised the achievement of the London-born hurling team reaching the final of the World Games at Croke Park.
That feat, along with the appointment of Michael Maher as London senior football manager and the number of London-born players in the county senior and junior teams, highlighted the “importance of our youth”.
The only other position to go to the vote on the floor was that of central council delegate, with Seamus Carr stepping down having completed his five-year term. Tony O’Halloran won a vote with Tom Mohan by 53 votes to 27 votes.
Mort Reidy was appointed assistant treasurer, having been nominated from the floor on the day, after Brendie Brien and Joel McInern both withdrew.
The positions of assistant secretary and Oifigeach Na Gaeilge were not filled on the day.
New London GAA finance and operations manager Stephen Lohan was introduced to delegates and said that one of his tasks will be to “revisit the implementation of a strategic 3-5 year plan” for London GAA, which would be produced in conjunction with Adrian Hassett of Connacht GAA.
“Sponsors want to know where their money is going and if we have a good strategic plan in place then we can actually show them where we’re spending our money, and where we propose to spend it,” he told delegates.
Mr Lohan’s role will be to assist all officers of the county board in their positions.
Harlesden Harps’ proposal for the reinstating of the 48-week rule regarding club to club transfers was carried.
Going forwards, if a player wishes to transfer to another club, and the move is challenged by the club the player is leaving, the player will not be able to participate in any game in London for 48 weeks, from the date of their last game.
Dulwich Harps’ proposal for the play-off game between the intermediate and junior champions, for the right to compete in the All-Britain Club Championship, was defeated.
2020 London County Board Officers:
LIFE PRESIDENT: Carmel McArdle (Cuchulainns)
HONORARY PRESIDENT: Bill Reilly (Brothers Pearse)
CHAIRPERSON: John Lacey (Granuaile)
VICE CHAIRPERSON: John O’Neill (Kilburn Gaels)
SECRETARY: John Molloy (Round Towers)
ASSISTANY SECRETARY: TBC
TREASURER: Donal Corbett (Granuaile)
ASSISTANT TREASURER: Mort Reidy (St Kiernans)
COACHING OFFICER: Colleen Lynott (St Clarets)
PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER: Fiona O’Brien (Brothers Pearse)
OIFIGEACH NA GAEILGE: TBC
CENTRAL COUNCIL: Tony O’Halloran (Harlesden Harps)
PROVINCIAL COUNCIL: Tom Mohan (Tir Chonaill Gaels) & Sean Reid (Dulwich Harps)
Development Officer: Tony Griffin (Parnells)
Children’s Officer: Sinead Griffin (Parnells)
Chairperson of Youth: Joel McInern (Tir Chonaill Gaels)
Health & Welfare: Dee Malone (St Brendans)
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