Vote of confidence for Offaly GAA officers as rule anomaly forces change of PRO
AS expected, the Offaly GAA Management Committee have received a vote of confidence with all officers returned unopposed for 2022 and the only changes will be for PRO where a rules anomaly is forcing Brendan Minnock (Shamrocks) to step down – and for Coaching Officer where Martin Cashen (Carrig and Riverstown) has to step down under the five year rule.
Chairman Michael Duignan (Durrow), secretary Colm Cummins (Edenderry) and treasurer Dervill Dolan (Clara) have received an emphatic thumbs up from Offaly GAA Clubs. It will be Duignan's and Dolan's third year in their roles after they were elected following a successful campaign in 2019 when chairman Tommy Byrne and treasurer Jimmy Hogan were beaten in contests for their positions.
Other serving officers also stepped down at that time as the Offaly GAA Management Committee experienced its biggest upheaval in decades. Michael Duignan and Tommy Byrne engaged in a fiercely fought campaign for the chair with the former Offaly hurler and footballer emerging triumphant – a package of Michael Duignan, Dervill Dolan, Colm Cummins and Brian Gavin had put their names forward, arguing that change was needed in the Offaly GAA County Board.
Colm Cummins was beaten by Rhode's James Murphy in a vote for vice chairman while Brian Gavin (Clara) was elected as one of the Leinster Council delegates but then lost to a beaten candidate, Dolores Slevin (Kilcormac-Killoughey) in a contest at the 2020 Convention. Colm Cummins was elected as secretary last year after Pat Horan of St Rynagh's stepped down.
Since then, the new officers have won widespread praise for the way they have carried out their duties and their re-election was very predictable. The only cloud on the horizon has been a messy row with Tullamore GAA Club over the terms of the O'Connor Park lease but with Offaly winning the All-Ireland U-20 Football Championship and the senior hurlers winning promotion in the Christy Ring Cup and to Division 1 of the National Hurling League, the playing side of things has been going well.
Clara's Padraig O'Meara is the only nominee to replace Brendan Minnock as PRO while Ballinamere's Carina Carroll has been nominated to replace Martin Cashen.
With huge social media outlets, the role of PRO is far busier than it would have been in the past and Minnock was elected in the weeks after that 2019 Convention, where Ballyfore's Mary Dunne was among the existing officers who stepped down in the wake of Tommy Byrne losing out. Minnock had hoped to continue on but is forced to step down under the GAA's five year rule limit on officers – he had previously served three years as PRO in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and the rule states that an officer must step down after five years cumulative or consecutive service.
The five year rule was introduced several years ago to ensure that there was regular change in County Board officers. It was not designed for situations like Brendan Minnock who took a lengthy break before returning and was instead meant to prevent an officer taking a year out and then returning. Minnock is likely to remain involved with the board's public relations work and may be interested in getting involved in other capacities in the board.
Martin Cashen has served five years consecutively as Coaching Officer and has been praised for the work he has done in organising the county's games development programme.
Unless there are late withdrawals, the Offaly GAA Management Committee for 2022 will be:
Chairman – Michael Duignan (Durrow); Vice chairman – James Murphy (Rhode); Secretary - Colm Cummins (Edenderry); Assistant secretary – Christy Todd (Ballycommon); Assistant treasurer – Sinead Daly (St Rynagh's); PRO – Padraig O'Meara (Clara); Central Council representative – Paddy Scales (St Rynagh's); Leinster Council representatives – Dolores Slevin (Kilcormac-Killoughey) and Joe Higgins (Tubber); Cultural officer – Michelle Hogan (Birr); Coaching officer – Carina Carroll (Ballinamere),
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