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All (fairly) quiet on the GAA front in Mayo

Sport

East Mayo Board Chairman Vincent Walsh is pictured taking a break at the Mayo GAA Convention in the Park Hotel, Kiltimagh last Sunday.
ALONE WITH HIS THOUGHTS
?East Mayo Board Chairman Vincent Walsh is pictured taking a break at the Mayo GAA Convention in the Park Hotel, Kiltimagh last Sunday.?Pic: Ray Ryan

All (fairly) quiet on the GAA front


Sketch
Willie McHugh

“TREAT the mic gently” came the directive as the microphone was handed over to newly-elected Assistant Treasurer Ger McHugh at the Mayo GAA Board Convention last Sunday.
“We’ll treat one Mike carefully anyway, and that’s Mike Connelly!” was Ger’s instant witty riposte to the diktat.
McHugh’s fellow Hollymount/Carramore clubman had been chosen by the delegates to fill the post of County Chairman, vacated by Paddy McNicholas, having seen off the challenge of Ballintubber’s Seán Feeney.
After congratulating his neighbour from down the road in Lehinch, Ger then went on to tell the delegates how he looked forward to working with the current Treasurer JP Lambe. A bit of a premature presumption we presumed, or did he know something we didn’t?
Because as McHugh spoke, the tallymen from the different divisions were in a room elsewhere rummaging in big blue plastic containers and counting the votes cast for the post between Lambe and Castlebar Mitchels’ Michael Diskin. But when white smoke emerged on their return, they declared Lambe had got the nod from the delegates so Ger was spared his slight faux pas.
Ger McHugh had an easy ride to the Assistant Treasurer’s winning post. We were told that PJ Monaghan from Belmullet, who also had his hat in the ring, hadn’t confirmed his intention to run with the County Secretary, ergo there was no contest.
There was an effort from Belmullet’s John Gallagher to intervene on his clubmate’s behalf, but Vincent Walsh, with the eloquence of Rumpole addressing the Bailey, nipped that notion in the bud reminding them (Mayo delegates that is, not the Old Bailey jury) of the rules, standing orders and directives from Croke Park.
Vincent might well have reminded delegates they were treading on quicksand if they went ahead.  It would have been apt enough too, because earlier he requested them to get their club entries in quickly so as the draw for a lorry of sand presented by Frank Harrington of Kilkelly could take place.
Seemingly the photographer wanted to get away quickly and the opportunity of a photo could be lost to the ebbing sands of time. Draw over, and we’re delighted to report the winners were spread to the four corners of the county. Any day at all now Frank Harrington’s lorry will be heading up the road to Ballyhaunis.
Then there’s another delivery to Kilmeena and Mattie Murphy and the Shrule meitheal will be waiting with the transport and the white David Browne tractor to spread Shrule/Glencorib’s quarrying from County Convention.
But the biggest laugh of the day erupted when Lacken was announced as the last successful entry. Lacken where there’s almost as much sand as the Sahara Desert, and now the Mayo County Board are sending another lorry load down on top of them. And then we’re wondering how Croke Park ended us up below in Limerick for the All-Ireland semi-final replay.
And we might well be heading there again, or in some other direction, if the tidings carried back from Central Council are to be heeded. The Yanks are returning to play there again and they’ll be more than welcome too. Croke Park will make sure everything will be done to accommodate them. And if it means sending All-Ireland semi-finalists to provincial venues, then so be it.
What they didn’t tell us, probably because Croke didn’t tell them, is that the inconvenience applies to every county, except Dublin, but we knew that already. But at least we’ll have sand if we’re readying for the arrival of the Yanks. The Mayo County Board saw to that.
PJ Monaghan wasn’t the only absentee when the convention roll call took place at the outset; Ballycroy were short a delegate from their number. Perhaps they’re still celebrating their recent promotion to Division 1E of the Mayo Senior League. Parke were a man down too but his colleagues assured the caller at the top table he was on the way.
Later on as outgoing Chairman Paddy McNicholas (he wasn’t gone yet) was addressing the convention, we thought our friend from Parke was arriving by helicopter such was the noise generated inside the function room. Some couched their ears while looking towards the heavens while others peered out the windows wondering where it was going to land. Except for the east Mayo contingent, who are accustomed to planes landing, what with their proximity to Knock Airport.
But it was only a faulty microphone making the entire racket. Vincent Walsh might well write to Santa Claus demanding a new microphone. And perhaps a bicycle too, because he had the feet worn off himself traipsing up and down the hall so as speakers could get a loud and fair hearing. He would have stepped as many footsteps had he walked the Camino de Santiago.  
There was little by way of dialogue or opinions expressed with anything nearing passion at Sunday’s gathering. ‘Passive’ best describes the atmosphere. Hard to fathom, especially in a year when Mayo GAA affairs, on and off the pitch, was the topic of conversation wherever two or three were gathered in this county — and even beyond.  
But if Sunday’s Convention is any sort of a reliable guide then there’s a disconnect somewhere, because what’s expressed loudest among the ordinary Mayo football public isn’t echoed back to the top table by the delegates.
There was little or no debate. Motions were proposed and most of those passed have to be put forward to the Mayo CCC for consideration. And they say the clubs have the final say.
If it weren’t for the sand and the defective sound system there was little else to stir the interest, and we can’t blame a faulty microphone for that.
Silence has its own loud echo.