“A convention of change, both on and off the field” is how outgoing chairperson of Kilkenny GAA Jimmy Walsh described proceedings at O’Loughlin Gaels on Monday night.
With a number of key positions on the county board changing hands, Monday’s proceedings – the first in-person convention in three years – saw a new chair, vice chair, secretary, PRO and a number of delegate roles decided.
No moves were made on the roles of coaching officer or Irish officer while children’s officer Caroline Clifford was also vacating her post.
Lisdowney’s PJ Kenny will take over the reins of the county board, replacing Windgap’s Jimmy Walsh as his five-year term comes to an end. Kenny used his first address as incoming chair to outline his vision for a new five-year plan for the continued development and improvement of Gaelic games in the county.
Danesfort’s Jim Fennelly defeated Thomastown’s John Lanigan 94 votes to 34 in the election for vice chair, a role previously filled by Kenny.
Seamus Reade, these days of the Dicksboro club, was elected unopposed to the role of secretary, replacing Conor Denieffe on the completion of his own five-year term. Denieffe will be replacing former county chair and secretary Ned Quinn as central council representative.
The role of PRO was three-way contest between Caroline Clifford (Clara), Shane Kavanagh (Dicksboro) and Mary Morgan (Piltown), the latter winning out by meeting the quota on the first count. Having previously been PRO to Piltown, Morgan has spent the past two years as junior board PRO and will replace Paul Fitzgerald who takes up the role of Leinster council representative alongside James Stephens’ Val Malone.
Motions for changes
A number of motions raised at the convention were ultimately passed, albeit subject to congress, including the realignment of underage grades in Kilkenny to U14, U16 and U18 with possibly one more grade above U18, assumed at U20, while a recommendation from the floor called for a fallback plan that would see the U19 grade given a full league and championship.
Ticketing raised its head with calls for a number of turnstiles to be made available at UPMC Nowlan Park on matchdays to facilitate cash or card payments for tickets though the way of the future seems very much to be in the ‘tickets in advance’ camp from online sources or local retailers. On that subject, incoming secretary Seamus Reade confirmed to KCLR that
As part of his treasurer’s address, Barry Hickey called on the support of more local businesses with concerns raised over being “left behind” with funding down in some key areas in 2022 when compared with the pre-pandemic accounts in 2019. Among noted increases in expenditure was a near €100,000 increase in team administration expenses, including catering, players and travelling expenses, sports gear and equipment, medical expenses and insurance which amounted to some €770,746 in 2022, up from approximately €674,000 in 2019.
It was noted, however, that Kilkenny are one of the few county boards that don’t take gates for hosted matches at the county grounds outside county semi-finals and finals.
While commercial income rose by almost the same increase in 2022 compared to 2019, other income including National Hurling League fees, rent and grants were down significantly.
Roles left vacant on the board are expected to be filled via a new round of nominations ahead of the first county board meeting of the year on 9 January.