GAA There was a distinct difference of opinion discernible at the top table at last night’s Mayo GAA Convention over the county’s defeat to Meath in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Secretary Seán Feeney had described Mayo’s collapse in the last 15 minutes of that game as ‘inexcusable’, and said in his report that the county senior team ‘lacked leadership and strength in key areas’. But Chairman James Waldron said he didn’t agree in ‘blaming our players’ and cited injuries to key players and ‘bad refereeing decisions’ as contributory factors to Mayo’s defeat.
Meanwhile, Seán Feeney apologised to residents of McHale Road in Castlebar for comments he made branding opponents of the controversial development of the county ground, McHale Park , as ‘Johnny come latelys’.
Feeney told Monday night’s marathon Mayo GAA Convention that the comments, made in his annual report, were ‘intended to refer’ to local councillors who had objected to a controversial media tower on the McHale Road side of the stadium.
Feeney said that over 50 per cent of the McHale Road residents ‘are not against the project and do not approve of the antics of a few. The GAA have long been residents of McHale Road , much longer than the ‘Johnny come latelys’ who now oppose the project.”
But he told last night’s meeting that ‘looking at the way it was written’, he could understand that it caused offence to residents, ‘and I do apologise’.
Waldron apologised on behalf of the County Board, developers, engineers and design team ‘for any inconvenience and upset that has been caused to the residents of McHale Road ’. He expressed a wish that the current problems ‘will be solved to everyone’s satisfaction’ in 2010.
The Chairman also welcomed the outcome of negotiations between the GAA and the Gaelic Players’ Association, and said he would be seeking Mayo County Board’s backing for a motion to give recognition to the GPA in the Association’s official guide.
Delegates from Moygownagh and Ardagh staged a walkout because they were not allowed to vote as separate clubs at Convention. The two sides played as Ardmoy, an amalgamated side, in this year’s Junior Championship, and County Board officers said that as a result, they were entitled to just three votes under the Ardmoy banner.
But officers of both clubs said they had been treated as separate clubs all year, and both had been expected to sell the same number of County Board Development Draw tickets as any existing junior entity. Moygownagh chairman Pádraig Staunton said the move on voting strength threatened the integrity of both clubs.
Jerry Henry of Castlebar Mitchels was elected to replace Paddy Muldoon as Mayo’s Ard Comhairle (Central Council) delegate, while Willie Kelly (Kilmeena) and John Hopkins (The Neale) are the new Connacht Council delegates.