Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The GAA Membership Sky Dilemma:

The GAA community have very divided  opinions about the merits or otherwise of the recent Sky T.V. This is very understandable on another emotive issue for an organisation so enmeshed in tradition and history.  I would not be in a position to speculate on the percentages for and against. Those who oppose the deal would have the easier arguments. These are based in the traditional values, ethos, volunteerism of the organisation and ‘pay for play’ issues . Amongst those I have seen to be against the move are Dessie Dolan, Colm O’Rourke, Joe Brolly, Eugene McGee -in a more guarded way- and many more nationally. This divided opinion transfers down to our own local GAA club. I have heard a number of Boyle GAA people express strong opinions against the move. The role of Sky, the threat of creeping ‘Pay Per View’ and the dominance of a Murdoch vehicle are certainly issues causing anxiety.

For the move nationally I have heard Oisin McConville, the G.P.A., Martin Brehony and Eamon Sweeney. The President of the GAA also has asked; “Would I, who has given a lifetime to the organisation, do anything that I felt would do it damage?” The hierarchy of the GAA has traditionally been a pretty conservative collective. It is indeed ironic that they are under pressure now for moving, as it were, ahead of a large body of opinion rather than being led or pushed by it as has been the case previously.
 For myself I give the move a very guarded acceptance. That might surprise some but c’est la vie. There is a prayer, I think, which asks one ‘to change the things he can, accept the things he cannot and the wisdom to know the difference’.  At my age the energy of rebellion has subsided and  I see this as an experiment. The number of games is limited. Of course if one of those games is one you cannot attend, and would really wish to see, the issue crystallises. The first game to go exclusively to Sky, as far as I am aware, is the Sligo v Galway game.  The offshoot benefits such as the transmission of games in Australia and elsewhere  will be welcomed by the large number of our people abroad. It is a long way from trying to pick up Radio Emirian signals in London parks in the sixties.
There has been no mention of the power of the grassroots to actually alter this decision after its present legal contract term of three years ends. I am sure that, come next winter, prior to the County Convention season, there will be many motions on the issue and the grassroots will be given an opportunity to voice their opinions. If the opposition dominates the experiment will fall. Of course one could argue that the current decision did not go through the democratic processes but was decided by the hierarchy.   
As you can see I am a bit confused by this project but I would not like to jump to judgement. ‘I used to be indecisive but now I’m not so sure’.

Congratulations et al

Well done to the Roscommon U 21 side on winning the Connacht U 21 C’Ship with a fine display against Leitrim last Saturday evening. I have said that this is an excellent side despite the wobble against Sligo. Well done to the clear-cut ‘Man of the Match’ winner Enda Smith who had a brilliant game. They play  the Munster winners, Cork or Tipperary, in the All-Ireland Semi-final on Saturday April 19th. I imagine the venue would be Tullamore. (The Final is on Saturday May 3rd).
Congratulations and very best wishes to three couples with Boyle GAA connections; Sean Purcell and Caitriona Daly who got married last week-end and to Mark O’Connor and Amy Sweeney and Jenny Conroy and Declan MacNamara who get married this coming week-end.
The water meters were installed in our area last week. I hope that charges are not imposed before the current quality issues are resolved. If an attempt to do so is initiated then I expect that there will be strong resistance. Perhaps it is a question that can be asked of aspiring Councillors when they call during the next month.
Boyle Abbey is  open to visitors. This usually happens closer to Easter.
I was going to mention the poor presentation of the IFTAs programme on R.T.E. last Saturday night but it has received plenty of coverage at this stage. One little nugget was the thanks issued by Brendan Gleeson, to a Christian Brother teacher of his for the encouragement he gave Brendan during his school days. As Tess Flaherty used to say; ‘An ounce of help is better than a ton of pity !’.

Tony Conboy, Forest View, Boyle, Co. Roscommon Mob: 086 816 3399     

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