GAA Football

Tributes to Danny Murphy at Ulster GAA Convention

WELL DESERVED: Thirteen prizes were handed out at the Ulster GAA Writers’ Association annual awards at the Four Seasons Hotel in Monaghan on Friday night. Picture by Jim Dunne
John P Graham

DOWN club St Mary’s, Burren last hosted the Ulster GAA Convention in 1990 and Saturday’s convention was to be the final one for Ulster Council secretary and CEO Danny Murphy, a day when he would hand over the reins of office to a fellow club man and a fellow Down man, Brian McAvoy.

That day, however, that did not materialise as Murphy (right) died in December and McAvoy was installed in his new position a couple of months earlier than either he or the council had planned.

But Saturday’s Convention was, to an extent, still dominated by McAvoy’s predecessor with glowing tributes paid to him not only in the new CEO’s report but also by the chairman of the Burren club, the chairman of Down County Board and GAA President Aogan O Fearghail, who was a special guest.

Ulster president Michael Hasson and delegations from all nine counties gathered to review 2016, to adopt the various reports and  financial statements, business that was completed efficiently and without any controversy.

McAvoy produced a wide-ranging report that covered all aspects of the work of the council. He reviewed all the competitions, paid a glowing tribute to the Slaughtneil club for their exploits and had strong words regarding the future of hurling in the province, stating that “inter-county hurling in Ulster needed a dramatic intervention”.

He addressed the proposed development at Casement Park and how it was progressing as well as the ongoing work that the Ulster Council staff are carrying out across a wide variety of initiatives, addressing the changes that are taking place and that will need to take place in so many aspects of the council’s work.

In adopting the financial statements of the council, income from all competition showed an increase on 2015, helped by both semi-finals in the Ulster Senior Football Championship going to replays. However, with income from the various grants the council receives being down from 2015, overall income showed a slight decrease on the previous year.

Expenditure for the year ended was down €200,000 on 2015 and it was pointed out that the fluctuating fortunes of sterling had quite an impact on the council’s finances.

In a wide-ranging address, Michael Hasson reviewed the workings of the council over the previous year and paid tribute not only to the staff but to the army of volunteers that support all of the council’s activities, particularly those who steward at matches.

He also strongly emphasised that the council would be supporting the proposed rule changes regarding the fixtures calendar at Congress.

Special guest O Fearghail also addressed convention and outlined the three proposals from director-general Paraic Duffy that will be going before Congress regarding the streamlining of the fixtures calendar, stressing that changes have to be made and he asked that all counties would support the proposals.

There was only one motion before convention which was formally ratified regarding the start date for the inter-county minor championships and this will now go forward to Congress.

There were no elections with all officers being declared re-elected.

The immediate past president, Martin McAviney  stepped down from the Council after 30 years  of service and tributes were paid to him for his contribution.

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