AS the Mayo GAA club delegates mused over their future relationship with the media last Tuesday night in MacHale Park, only 2.5km across town at the Mayo LGFA AGM in the TF Royal Theatre, our presence was very much welcomed by all.
Yes, there were plenty of wandering eyes looking curiously in the direction of the media table before the meeting began, but there wasn’t a single mention of a media ban.
In fact, chairperson Yvonne McEvilly acknowledged and thanked the media for coming in her opening address, while PRO Susan Rodgers and fixtures co-ordinator Emma Galligan ensured our experience was as comfortable as it could possibly be.
The house was almost full; all that was left to do before the meeting began was for outgoing secretary Kevin McDonnell to summon the Ballinrobe delegates lying low at the rear of the room to take their rightful place up at the very front.
It was as if the Kilmaine clubman wanted to keep a close eye on his neighbours, but in reality Ballinrobe were just unfortunate that the tables were organised in alphabetical order.
There was still one more empty seat which belonged to out-going treasurer Ian O’Sullivan, whose absence was noted due to an unfortunate car accident earlier that day.
That also meant the treasurer’s report would not be read out, although when the chairperson announced that news to the delegates, what sounded like an intentionally extra-loud sigh could be heard from one delegate.
That person was obviously expecting some debate and/or fireworks from that report and may not have been the only one; but we were all wondering.
As it turned out, the media weren’t the only birds of prey present, because when the voting for positions came up, the aforementioned treasurer became the former treasurer on a pretty comprehensive tally of 63-29 in favour of Breda Waldron of Davitts.
The vote for chair was much tighter, with just over 20 votes separating the two contestants, as Des Phillips lost out to Yvonne McEvilly. That could have been tighter/greater too, had Agnes McDonagh from Breaffy not been so honest and handed back a second voting paper she received accidentally.
Kilmovee delegate Des Phillips requested five minutes recess afterwards to discuss the result with his party; the smokers in the room saw this as ample opportunity to escape out the fire exit and get their nicotine fix. After all, the meeting was running for 60 minutes at that stage with over 90 more yet to go!
There was real appetite in the room for competition for positions at that juncture… that was until the assigning of a President came around and nobody had put their name forward.
“It’s an honorary position,” McEvilly told the room.
No one was biting.
“There’s very little work to it,” she said, dangling one last carrot in front of the delegates.
Still no one… a tough crowd.
If getting an honorary President was difficult, it’s no surprise to hear that finding a referee co-ordinator was even more so.
“Anyone out there want to be the referee co-ordinator?” McEvilly asked.
The silence of the Castlebar night hung over the room.
PRO Susan Rodgers stepped in.
“WhatsApp messaging has made it a lot easier,” she said. “It’s not as onerous as it used to be and we’ve a really reliable bank of referees to work with.”
Maybe the delegates weren’t too tech savvy, but the referees might end up co-ordinating themselves now.