PÁDRAIG McHale is the new chairman of the Mayo Association Football League. The Snugboro United man, who was vice-chairman and the driving force behind the Masters (Over-35) League, replaces Pat Quigley, who stepped down from the position at last Thursday’s AGM in Milebush Park.
Pádraig McHale said it was ‘a great honour’ to become the League’s tenth chairman. He praised the ‘outstanding work’ done by his predecessors, and paid particular tribute to Pat Quigley – to whom ‘every man, woman, boy and girl who has taken part in the game’ in Mayo over the past four decades ‘owes a huge debt of gratitude’.
Highlighting the Mayo football website, he stressed the need to ‘harness and embrace all new forms of technology’, and emphasised the need for volunteer education.
“One consequence of the current economic conditions is that there are many people now with more time on their hands,” the new chairman commented. “We must encourage as many as possible to become involved in the game at all levels.
“I want to create and foster an environment where all our club and league teams are able to compete equally with anyone else in the country when they leave to compete in external competitions.”
OUTGOING chairman Pat Quigley had held the position for the past six years, and also served in the role during the 1990s. The former FAI President said he was ‘delighted’ to have played ‘a small part’ in the development of Milebush Park, of which he is ‘very proud’. He thanked committee members and delegates for their support, and asked them to back his successor, who he said would ‘come as a breath of fresh air’ with ‘new ideas, new ways, new views’.
Donal Benson also stepped down from the League Management Committee. Jimmy Blake joins Michael Cresham as a referees’ assessor, while Harry Loftus has hung up his whistle.
Secretary John Durkan and all the visiting dignitaries highlighted Pat Quigley’s contribution. Gerry McDermott from the Football Association of Ireland praised Mayo for ‘trying to set the bar high’, and made a presentation to Pat Quigley for his work and ‘fantastic legacy’.
Spending up, income down
MANAGEMENT expenses and honorariums for officers almost doubled during 2009, an increase Christy Rowland described as ‘startling’. The figure was up from €19,938 in 2008 to €26,209 last year.
The Glenhest Rovers delegate was reacting to Tom Kelly’s treasurer’s report, which saw the Mayo League record a total income of €157,688 during 2009 compared to an outlay of €140,538, a net surplus of €17,150.
Kelly said the surplus was ‘a healthy situation in the current climate’, but noted that the figure represented a drop of €27,274 on the previous year. Expenditure increased by €20,788 while income decreased by €16,486.
“The increased expenditure was mainly as a result of a rise in honorariums to reflect the huge workload and commitment, management expenses and the purchase of a number of new cups, while there is also a carry-over from 2008 in respect of trophies and presentations,” the treasurer told the meeting.
Responding to Rowland’s comment, Kelly said that officers ‘hadn’t got an increase in some time’, and that such jobs were ‘a huge responsibility’. Noting that the Mayo League had been ‘out of line’ with other leagues, the treasurer concluded: “We are one of the most professionally-run leagues in the country”.
On the income side, there was a drop in Milebush rent, sponsorship and fines. while money in respect of the Emerging Talent Programme are due to the league. Kelly added that the Mayo AFL have entered a hire purchase agreement to buy a new mower at Milebush Park (costing €387 per month) and are paying €200 per month for two Aviva Stadium tickets.
Asked about the Aviva Stadium by Frank Gillivan (Westport United), Pat Quigley said the new venture was ‘an opportunity for clubs to make money’ given the possibility of rebates through insurance and an Umbro kit.
Any other business
Mayo’s first Charity Shield
THE Mayo League season will get under way with the county’s first ever ‘Charity Shield’, between Super League champions Ballina Town and Chadwicks Cup winners Manulla. The game has been fixed for Sunday, April 4 in Milebush Park. Admission is €5 and all proceeds will go to Rock Rose House, home of the Mayo Cancer Support Association. Angela Kirrane and Pat Conneely addressed delegates on the work by the group.
April start for Super League
ALL divisions of the Mayo League – including the Super League – will begin on Sunday, April 11, with the season due to conclude on October 10 with the Chadwicks Cup final.
Eric O’Reilly (Iorras Aontaithe) advocated a later start for the top division, adding: “Teams need to be playing games to have any chance in the Connacht and FAI Junior Cups”. But secretary John Durkan said it was felt the ‘late start’ to last year’s Super League was ‘not a success’, and chairman Pat Quigley said that the league had got ‘many complaints’ about the Super League calendar in 2009.
John Durkan confirmed that all divisions will be reduced to eight teams for the 2011 season. This year’s competition will include two clubs who have re-joined the league, Ballyhaunis Town and Parkside Celtic. “This now brings us to 35 clubs and 50 teams,” he noted.
Noting that Mayo were ‘the first league in the country to introduce the online player registration system’, the secretary highlighted the move towards the World Wide Web. “All league information will be posted on the website,” he added. “This is the source of your information from now on.” Carlos Lopez will attend workshops in Milebush Park next Friday, March 12 (7-9pm) and Saturday, March 13 (10am-1pm) to bring clubs up to speed.
Durkan described the Masters (Over-35s) League as ‘a great opportunity for some of the former greats of the league to throw off the cobwebs’. The final will take place next Saturday, March 20. All five of the divisional cup finals (fixed for July and August) will be preceded by an underage or women’s final.
Quigley wants Lotto money for soccer
“WHERE is the money gone?” That was the question asked by outgoing Mayo AFL chairman Pat Quigley, who said that government grants were ‘the lifeblood’ of clubs committed to improving their facilities. He told delegates they should ask their local TDs, senators and councillors about what is happening with the grants.
“I am aware that we have a recession,” added Quigley, “but the government needs to think back to when they launched the Lotto, to what they said and promised: [that] profits from the Lotto would be ploughed back into sport, arts, and health. This is not the position at present.”
Zero tolerance on ref abuse
MAYO referees are promising a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to verbal abuse next season.
Martin Halligan, secretary of the Mayo branch of the Irish Soccer Referees’ Society, told last week’s Mayo AFL AGM that abuse of referees ‘from both inside and outside the playing area’ would not be tolerated next season.
He added that expenses to referees must be paid before the start of games, but announced that referees have agreed to a reduced mileage rate of 50 cent a mile, down from 72 cent last year.