Chairmans address to the AGM

Outgoing chairman Richard O’Shea had the full attention of the attendants this year  at our Club’s AGM and gave an interesting outgoing speech which was informative, thought provoking,  thankful and hopeful.

For those of you who didn’t get a chance to attend the AGM here is Richard’s speech and we invite you to read it, consider it and even comment if you so wish.


St Martins GAA   AGM   Chairman’s Address                                                          17/01/2014


I would like to thank you all for coming here tonight and to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a happy new year and I hope 2014 brings you all luck but most of all health and happiness.

To start, I would like to mention my fellow officers Breda and Dermot for their hard work though out the year.  Both of them were new to their positions at the start of the year but once they found their feet there was no stopping them, so a huge thank you.  I would like to thank other committee members who done work or put themselves forward on the various sub committees throughout the year. A big thank you also to John Ryan, Vice Chair, for his hard work on the various sub committees that he’s involved with, in particular the fundraising and finance committees.

Thanks To Eamonn Breen and Dermot Lawlor, who run and manage the clubs members draw.  This is vital in keeping our club going.  It’s never an easy job so well done to all who collected money on behalf of the club during the year.  The Clubs website was launched in 2009 and huge credit is due to Martin Stapleton, Anthony Maher and Breda Tynan who regularly maintain and update it. To Ann Marie Nolan for her work as PRO and for keeping our Facebook and Twitter pages up to date with all the latest news. To both field committees for keeping our pitches in the best possible shape.  To Dermot Lawlor and Robert Shore who did First Aid duty for the club, and to all who helped out in any way by washing jerseys, looking after hurls and balls, putting up nets and flags, or by refereeing, or doing umpires or linesman’s duties and also to all the parents who bring children to and from matches throughout the county……A big thank you to all

As you will hear later in Dermot’s report our club remains in a very strong financial position and this would not have been possible without all who kindly donated sponsorship to our club in any way, from under age right up to senior level and here I would like to say a big thank you to Jim Bolger who paid for a trainer, floodlit pitches and meals in Dublin for the Dublin based players, for his sponsorship towards some of the work carried out in our field in Coon this year.  His generosity and loyalty to the Club can not be underestimated and I would also like to thank him for allowing us to use his facilities again for the coming year ahead. I would like also to thank the employees of my own company O’Shea Plant Hire Ltd for their hard work and reliability, which allows me to sponsor the club over the last number of years.  And to my family for their support throughout the year.

Thanks to Patrick O’ Flynn chairman of Bord Na nOg and Larry Maher, Chairman of the Football club for their and their committees’ cooperation and willingness to work with us throughout the year. And I would also like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Hurling club to congratulate Lar and Muckalee Football Club, who won the County Final for the fourth year in a row and I know Lar and the lads were disappointed after their defeat in the Leinster Championship against Saint Fintans in Pirecestown but ye and the players can hold your heads proud with the achievement ye have made in Football in Kilkenny. I’m also delighted that Larry and his management team are back in for another year with the football to push on for the drive for five in the local championship and I can assure you that we in the hurling club will be behind ye all the way in every way possible.

Thank you also to the priests in our parish, Fr Wallace, Fr Delaney and Fr Martin, for their prayers and support throughout the year and at this point I would like to extend my condolences on behalf of the club to those members and their families who have suffered bereavements during the year and maybe spare a thought or a prayer for those who are ill in our community tonight.

I would like to congratulate our players who represented the club on County, College or schools teams during the year. Well done.  Also congratulations to anybody from the parish who represented the community in any way whether it was in Hurling, Football, Camogie, Handball, Racquetball, Horse Riding or Athletics.

But most important of all, I would like to say a big thank you to all our players, team coaches and selectors at every level in the Club for the hard work they have put in throughout the year, I know at times you might think it goes unnoticed but to the true Club man it doesn’t and finally I would like to wish all our players in all the clubs in the parish the best of luck in the year ahead.


With the present works coming near to finish at our Coon pitch, this means we will have two of the finest playing pitches and facilities in the county and it’s great to see them being used to their potential by all the various clubs and teams in the parish. Of course, there will be an ongoing cost in the upkeep and maintenance of these facilities which always have to be factored in when doing our yearly budgets.  Please remember it takes a lot of time and effort from the people on both field committees to keep the pitches in tip top condition and again, this time and effort is voluntary.  These people are doing this at no cost to the club and in their own free time.



Fundraising will always be a big part of our clubs survival.  Over the years we have had various fundraising events taking place like the dog night, poker classic, Scrap metal collecting, scratch cards etc and while we still need these and many more to survive, the members draw is still the main source of income and the reason our club is in such a healthy financial condition at the moment and without this we wouldn’t be where we are today.  The draw is still holding its own and maintaining roughly the same number of members every year which is an achievement in itself, but it also proves that it works. However I believe this year we can work harder on this.  We can push the membership numbers up by at least another 25% by attracting new members and getting more people involved in our club.  This won’t happen by itself, we have to make this happen as a club and that means getting out there actively going from door to door looking for new members. If we could increase our membership by at least 25% next year can you imagine what could be done within our club with this extra revenue?………An awful lot of work could be done….. But, I would like to clarify that a lot of work doesn’t always mean bricks and mortar. Over the last number of years, we have invested heavily in the pitches and facilities and as I have already said we have top notch services in place. But I think we need to look at investing more into the basics.   NOW, in 2014 I believe it is time to invest in the people who make up our club.  I would like to see a development plan for progressing our players, we should be investing in our players from underage right up to senior level.  I would like to see a coaching programme to encourage, train and incentivise our coaches.  I would like to see more equipment and gear for our players, a system to support and promote our players, bringing our club together, and a way of rewarding and bonding our players.  I know not everybody will agree with what I’m saying here and maybe are of the school of thought that fundraising should all be going towards developing our pitches.  I strongly urge you all to see that now that we have an excellent and professional set up of facilities, it is the time to seriously look at development of our present players and our next generation of players.  I’ll put it to you this way….. Bricks and mortar won’t win trophies – our players will….. and if we don’t start safeguarding this resource all we will be left with is….. bricks and mortar.

Our Teams

Breda will give a comprehensive individual team report shortly. But briefly, I would like to congratulate Bord Na nOg on the amount of work that is being done at underage.  This is probably the most important part of any club but as I said earlier I think going forward we need to invest more into this part of our club as our next generation of senior hurlers will come from here.  Great credit is also due to them and all involved in the way they have self financed themselves over the last couple of years to run Bord Na nOg.

I know the U21 championship is not run off until the back end of every year, which I personally don’t agree with, but the powers that be within the Kilkenny County Board insist on doing this, so it is outside of our control. But I would ask that all the U21 players come along and train with the senior panel during the year and I would also ask the older or stronger members of the minor panel to come along and train with them also. This will have a two way effect, it will give these players more game time and experience to progress them at their own grade but it will also bring bigger numbers to the senior training sessions which will allow for better training sessions and to play proper matches

Our senior teams overall had a reasonably good year with our Junior A team narrowly losing out to Emeralds in North Junior A Championship, our Junior team progressing to the quarter final of the Junior championship and our Seniors winning the Aylward Cup and getting to the semi final of the senior championship. So over all it wasn’t a bad year for the club but as I have said before for anybody looking in from the outside, the success of a club is measured by how well their senior team is doing, and I know a lot of people including the players, Charlie Carter and the management team were disappointed that they didn’t win the semi final last year and progress to the final because they believed that there was a great chance in winning the final.  It wasn’t to be and there is no point looking back saying what if. All we can do is move forward and learn from our mistakes and hopefully get that bit of luck and do it this year. The senior championship in Kilkenny is probably the hardest local championship to win in the country and for years we as a club seemed to have been happy enough just to avoid the relegation zone, but credit to our present bunch of senior players over the last number of years they have avoided this zone and are consistently competing in the quarter and semi finals of the local championship, this is an achievement in itself and I believe with a bit of luck and patience from all involved including our supporters we can go another step and go all the way.

For 2014, the committee is again putting forward Charlie Carter and his management team. I would ask you all here tonight to vote in Charlie Carter and his back room team as the committee and players feel he is the right man for the job but I would ask every one here including committee members and supporters to get behind him and support him all the way, as Charlie said himself he is coming back for one reason and one reason only and that’s to win the County Final.

Don’t forget, our under 21 team and Junior teams are also very important to the club as these teams are the stepping stone for our up and coming players as it matures and prepares them for the senior panel.


2014 & BEYOND

After being chairman of this club for the last 5 years I have made the decision to step down as chairman, to allow somebody else the opportunity to bring some fresh and new ideas into our club. I have really enjoyed my time as Chair of this fantastic club and I would like to thank everybody for giving me the opportunity to hold this position. St Martins Hurling Club holds a very special place in my heart I will always be a very loyal and strong supporter of the club and I won’t be going away too far as I would like to stay actively involved on our committee

Over the 5 years as Chairman I met a lot of lovely people, travelled to a lot of clubs, met a lot of players,.  I have seen a huge development of our playing fields. I was delighted to sponsor and see the establishment of our website, I have enjoyed seeing both the Hurling and football clubs agreeing to coming together to fundraise for the future, been involved with a fantastic bunch of players, managers and selector’s over the years, seen better structures put in place for our committee, seen our membership holding its own through the worst recession ever to hit this country, seen our club staying financially strong………but most of all I learnt a lot about our club….. Both good and bad……Mostly good I must say………but it’s the bit of bad stuff that really worries me.

Back in December 2009 in my Chairman’s address I spoke a lot about a very negative vibe running through our club and I said if this continues it will be hard to stop and will have distracting effect on our performance as a club and eventually it will get into our players heads. I’m very sorry to say this hasn’t stopped, if anything it has got worse.

But what I have learnt from being a Chair since I first spoke about this is that this negativity is being engineered by a very small group of people but once it filters through the club its spreads like a virus. This is so damaging to our Club, the people working hard in our club but most importantly, it’s damaging to our players. Over the last few years I’m constantly listening to people muttering in the background giving out about the manager, selectors, trainers, players, officers of the club, etc….saying they should have done this, should have done that, he’s useless, they haven’t a clue. I was disgusted to learn that some of our senior players were verbally abused this year after the county semi final…yes, verbally abused while they were out having a drink after the match by so called ‘Club Men’.  So much so that some of the players had reservations about coming back to the panel this year, and I wouldn’t blame them.  Some of the management team also received abuse after that match and also after some of the other matches during the year…. This to me is vile behaviour and absolutely disgraceful….do these people that do this realise the amount of their own time and energy these players and selectors put into our club?…..As far as I’m concerned, those who criticise and abuse players, managers and selectors….they are not Club Men and should not be tolerated by our club.

I can summarise this into 3 points

1.            it’s hard enough to take negativity and abuse from people outside our club…….but that’s part and parcel of sport and you just take it on the chin and get on with it.                       

2.            it’s very hard to take it from members of our own club…..but to these people I’d say get involved on the committee and give your opinion at the meetings.

3.            And this is what really gets under my skin is when it’s coming from within the Clubs own committee. I am all for an open discussion or debate to discuss any problems to do with managers, selectors, trainers, players, etc at a committee meeting, and I welcome anybody who wants to discuss or add to our committee to get involved……but what really boils my blood is when people who are on the committee bring it on themselves to discuses our affairs outside our meetings….not alone do they discuss our decisions and affairs outside the meetings, but they put their own spin on what should or should not have been done, they criticise managers decisions, criticise selectors and trainers even though they had agreed to go with these people at our meetings and worst of all they criticise the players. I even heard of one committee member who said lately that the senior team is going to be relegated this year and that’s even before training for the coming year starts.  This kind of loose talk is very damaging to our club and it spreads like a lethal virus.  You may well ask why do they do it?.    In my opinion, it’s because they are working to their own agenda, they are not thinking of the good of the club, and it is intolerable.  And it has to stop now.  As I have said, it’s only a very small group of people but there is no room for them in our club.

Being Chairman can be difficult because sometimes at meetings you have to bite your lip during different discussions that take place, because after all you are only chairing the meeting and you have to listen to both sides of any story so in a way im looking forward to getting back as an ordinary committee member where its easier to speak your mind.  My point here is every time you try to take a step forward, there are a few people trying to pull you two steps backwards……This to me is more negativity.  And again, it’s not the right message or atmosphere.


This is only a tip of the iceberg of the negativity and people with their own agenda’s taking place in the club and as I said earlier its caused by a very small few people but its spreading like a virus, and it’s spreading right through our club and out to our supporters and it needs to stop and it needs to stop now.

But we have some brilliant members on our committee, lads that will give their heart and soul for the club, who will do anything that’s asked of them, lads who are willing to put themselves forward for any job. Later on at the end of the meeting a new committee will be picked for the coming year ahead. I would love to see loads of new people with positive ideas getting involved on the committee as new faces are always welcomed and badly needed…… The club and the good of the club should always come first.

I’m a great believer in the power of people, like minded people coming together for a common aim. My wish for this club would be that the Hurling and football clubs of the parish would come together as one and I’ll go one step further and include the Camogie club here, all one club and I believe this is something we should look at in the near future. In this way we create a community, Mothers, Fathers, Sons and Daughters together in one mighty club, working together as one.

That’s called the power of people………….Our back bone…………And always remember.

 “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being positive about what could go right”


Now I know we have a full agenda to get through but just before we start, John Ryan the present vice chair is going for the position as Chairman and I highly recommend John for this job. He has been a very active vice chairman over the last few years and I know he will make a brilliant chairman so I would ask you all to vote for John. I would like to thank anybody who helped me in my position during my time as chair and I know I have left you with a mouth full to swallow, but this truly is how I see it from my position. I am and always will be a true supporter of St Martins hurling club whether we are winning or losing………..Thank you for listening