Sports

County Convention on Wednesday

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

County Convention on Wednesday thumbnailSean Og McAteer

THE Down County Convention takes place in the Canal Court Newry on Wednesday (December 13) with a 7pm throw in, where County secretary Sean Og McAteer has written a comprehensives report, including the lows and highs of the senior football team and with several interesting and radical ideas, writes Steve Malone.

The Down and indeed gaelic community has been rocked with too many sad deaths and McAteer pays tribute to those who passed away over the past year, including Ballyholland legend Paddy Savage.

"As I was completing this report news has broken of the death of Paddy Savage, until recently Runaí of Ballyholland," said McAteer.

"This is news that has shocked me deeply, I recall Paddy being below me in the Abbey CBS Newry when he was a goalkeeper on school teams, our paths crossed again at NUU in Coleraine where he was a student of Irish. As a Club Secretary Paddy was a dedicated and capable administrator for Ballyholland and a man who had a sense of humour in all of our dealings, he was an extremely capable administrator.

Paddy has like so many other been taken too soon from us, he has seen Ballyholland establish themselves as a first division club and a club with a vision for the future. I can only but express my condolences to his family and to the Gaels of Ballyholland, you have lost a very special person."

The County secretary's report includes information on the development at Ballykinlar, how the county hurlers, Scor and underage teams performed and isn't short of proposals either.

One such suggested move is to remove free entry for the U16 to Pairc Esler in the National League games, which many people will agree with, while others will argue will do little to help promote the game. But Convention is as good a place to start discussions as anywhere.

"We are, I feel, undervaluing our games by in essence giving them away free to those U16 we are creating a culture then of expectation, the expectation that I can get in free and this to mean lessens the value we put on our games," said McAteer.

"You only have to be about gates to see how the patrons try to gain entry to games as U16, to watch people drive up to a game, park the car and then announce to the ticket seller 'One U16'. To see men come up and ask for one adult and two U16 tickets and then see their wife and married daughter enter the ground on the U16 tickets."

To me this has to change and I would suggest that nationally we start with the Allianz League to begin the process and we have a €2/£2 charge for U14 and for U18 a charge of €5/£5 be introduced.

That the category of concessions for student is removed and that the only other concession is for those over 65. I certainly feel that in Down we have to look at our admission price structure for our own Club Championships in 2018.

Overall, McAteer has wrote a positive report and he believes that together with club members that Down can be leaders once again.

"Yes, Down GAA can be a great again, I have no doubt about that but whether it will be or not is down to each and every one of us," said McAteer.

"If we want it to happen, it will and it can, from the youngest to the oldest, from the players to the supporters, from the team managers to the administrators, from those who criticise us, to those who are there for us, we need you all with us on the journey.

"Together we can do it, we can feel the fear but we can do it anyway, we have the desire to make it happen, now let the journey begin."

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