WARNING Mayo GAA Bord na nÓg chairman Daithi Gallagher. Pic: John Corless
Mayo Bord na nÓg chief issues stark warning in report
FEARS that they will be targeted by vile, personal abuse on social media may be preventing some talented people from becoming involved with Mayo GAA. That was one of the messages delivered by Mayo Bord na nÓg chairman Daithí Gallagher in his address to Sunday’s County Convention.
In an impressive and wide-ranging report the Castlebar Mitchels clubman said the voluntary ethos embodied by the GAA is what keeps the wheels of the organisation moving, and everything must be done to protect and support each of those volunteers.
“Often, we forget that the thing that connects us more than anything else, is a shared passion for Gaelic Games, in addition to a shared desired for the betterment of our games across all levels,” he wrote in his annual report. “At times, our passions can boil over and have negative impacts, and in some instances voluntary officers are targeted with abusive or negative commentary.
“In more recent years, officers within Mayo GAA have been targetted by anonymous social media accounts who have directed vile personal abuse towards some of our most senior officers.
He went on to say that these anonymous accounts should be starved of oxygen and given no traction in GAA circles.
“It is vital that we refrain from engaging with this behaviour, that we avoid sharing screenshots in WhatsApp groups, that we report any tweets or social media posts that would have a harmful impact on any of our volunteers or Mayo GAA staff, and that we avoid giving any unfounded lies and controversies credence in our day-to-day conversations,” he added, before reaching the pivotal point of his message, the hesitancy of many to get involved because of the social media abuse.
“I can’t help but think that there are capable and competent club officers and Mayo GAA fans who would like to get more involved in our organisation, but who make a measured decision in silencing their interest for fear their names would be dragged through the mud on social media platforms. I hope that we see an end to this aspect of our games sooner rather than later, for the sake of the future of Mayo GAA.”
Bord na nÓg activities
THE Bord na nÓg chairperson’s report also highlighted the huge amount of Mayo Bord na nÓg activities during a Covid-shortened season — an achievement he described as ‘exceptional.’
“When faced with yet another year of limitations; limited playing time, limited capacities, limited playing numbers and limited patience, our clubs responded with abounding enthusiasm, dedication and commitment, to ensure that the 142-day window of opportunity we were given for football this year was packed full of fixtures.
“In 2021, we administered 1,448 games over a period of 142 days between June 10 and October 31, with an average completion rate of 97 percent. This was exceptional,” he added before saying this level of engagement would be almost impossible to repeat.
“While these figures are a great achievement on paper, they are unsustainable from a practical
point of view. The result of setting this volume of fixtures was a 62 percent increase in the average number of fixtures per week. That is not only a 62 percent increase in games, it’s an huge increase in the administrative expectation of Bord na nÓg, an increase in the demand for referees and pitches, an increase in the work load of volunteers, stewards and officers in each club, and above all else, it is an increase in the demand and expectation of our underage players across the county.
“While I would like to thank all parties for their tireless work in providing the maximum amount of football possible this year, I would air a note of caution and assure all clubs that this level of activity is not sustainable and we hope to achieve a more balanced return to football next year.”