February 13th Notaí
- Published: 13 February 2019
Notaí CLG Tulach an Iarainn sponsored by McGrath's chemist.
Junior Hurling First championship fixture is against Lismore in Ballyduff at 12pm on the 7th April.
Operation Transformation Walk: The numbers are slowly increasing by the week and with two weeks left feel free to come along. We commence at Pairc Éamonn De Paor Thursday at 7pm.
I stated a few weeks back that I was going to have a question and answer session with the outgoing chairman of the club Liam Mulcahy. Here is part one of the interview.
PRO: You have finished up four years as Tallow chairman, I remember when you first took over you
said you'd stay for one year. How are you feeling after the four years?
L.M.: One year was never a serious option. That’s what was mooted by the men who approached me at the time. Now I’m not that naive and neither were they. I remember John McDonnell saying to me at the time. “You’ll grow into and get to like it” He wasn’t too far out. Maybe I came to the position too late but sin sceal eile. I had some experience having served as chairman of Naomh Columcille in Tyrone and Cois Bhride but this was a whole different ball game. As the late Seamus Brennan once said “this is senior hurling boys”. The position brings a good deal of responsibility (the chairman is the final arbiter) but it is also a great privilege and honour to serve as Chairman of your club. Had I my time over I would have done some things differently. I would have ensured the role and responsibilities of each officer were clearly defined so there would be no confusion as to who should or should not be doing what. The GAA provides guidance in this regard. Every GAA club now has at least 10 different officer positions with new regulations issued weekly. Governance of clubs has changed dramatically. It’s now like running a business with the adherence to regulations and laws which that entails.
PRO: Many challenge face the modern day GAA club what are they biggest obstacles facing clubs now?
LM: I’ve outlined some of the admin difficulties above. It’s like every club would need a solicitor, accountant and social worker on the committee. From a playing perspective the main obstacles haven’t gone away. Continuity and certainty of fixtures was and is the main issue. This is nothing short of a plague on clubs. It has ever been thus! Lads are now skipping off to the US or even Australia during the championship break. This is going to become worse. You remember Fada when I was campaigning on the club notes for reform of fixtures. That’s over 20 years ago!!! They will kill clubs unless this is recognized and then the show is over. Another problem facing rural clubs especially is the lack of numbers. Not a lot can be done about this. In fairness to most clubs they are making every effort to keep young lads involved. Clubs are also reluctantly (understandably) facing up to the reality and amalgamating where necessary.
PRO: With the new Walsh Park in the offering and with the financial cost of such a venture what do you expect to follow?
LM: Disharmony and more club levies! Look this is a source of constant debate among and even embarrassment to Waterford Gaels. Maybe we missed the boat on this one. The ideal solution back in the day (maybe even still) was to build a compact (25,000) seater stadium in Carriganore. I understand there are issues about the GAA not developing lands which are not vested in the Association. Now it looks like a half hearted development to Walsh Park has been sanctioned which may be “ outdated and not fit for purpose before its even finished” Fraher Field has been promoted as another option. Not really sure but the course appears to be set. It’s a mess!! No offence to the wee county but Louth was usually tagged as the worst county ground in Ireland. They have ambitious plans to redevelop apparently. Let’s hope we don’t assume the mantle.
PRO: You were involved as a selector in the early noughties and the start of this decade. Was there much of difference in preparation?
LM: Ah stop. Since then, huge changes! I was selector with Doyler and the Legend around 2000. Murphy couldn’t make it one night and give me the whistle to train the lads. I hadn’t a clue and proceeded to run the shit out of them with laps of the field – old school. I remember Murray in particular looking at me, young and all as he was, and I could see him thinking: “this fellah doesn’t know what he’s at”. Move on 10 years or so with Mick Mangan on board and we had a bit more organisation and structure, enough to reach a county final. . Preparations in all serious senior clubs have change utterly over the last few years. Hurling coaches, Gym programmes, strength and conditioning coaches, diet regulation, GPS player tracking systems, physiotherapy, yoga etc are now de rigeur – anything that will give the team an edge. Senior club teams’ preparation is now much more intensive and demanding. It’s a big ask of young lads and takes commitment and dedication. I’m sure you could answer it better than me as you have played senior hurling for almost 20 years now.
PRO: We also lost a few great Gaels during your time, a few in which you had a very good working relationship.
L.M. : I’m not sure where to start Fada. When I think of Pigeon, Billy Henley and later “Thresher” it’s very emotive. Gifted hurlers all, coached by the Master, Ned Power. I can’t cover 20 years. So many good people lost to us! During my 4 years as Chairman, Loretta, Patsy and Finn passed away –good decent people- you would find no better. Finn is a huge loss to the community as a whole. I was thinking of setting up a branch of Conradh na Gaeilge in Tallow. Im not sure I will now without him. I wouldn’t mind putting in the graft but he would draw the crowd. He had star quality and he revelled in it. He loved Tallow!
PRO: What were the highlights on the field of play?
L.M.: I tend to remember individual performances than specific games. In my time as PRO for Tallow GAA I recall searching for superlatives to describe the mesmerizing power plays of Thomas Ryan not to mention your own dogged, daring, dashing displays. In fairness Fada (and don’t censor this) you took no prisoners!! I’m useless about years but it had to be ‘99/2000 (it was around 2011 Liam) when Paul O Brien returned from South America. Mick Mangan was training us and I insisted Paul should start, against Mount Sion I think. Mick disagreed saying no lad could be ready for senior championship after so long out of the game. . Paul O Brien was and hurled a stormer that day. I knew he would. So to answer your question Fada my highlight was watching players like your kid brother Paul, Tommy Ryan, Murray etc performing heroics for Tallow over 2 decades. That’s just my opinion! We reached 2 county finals in the last decade also and possibly didn’t do ourselves in justice either, certainly not the first.
PRO: Your connection to Naomh Colum Cille is well known. Would you hope to keep that connection between both clubs?
L.M.: Yes I think we need to reconnect and reinforce contact with N.C. You’ve been up there more than once Fada. You were there in ’97 and got player of the tournament (u16). I think we beat Cushendall in the final. I still maintain contact with N.C. I remember the days when we started the club in the ‘80s. Little support was forthcoming from the local football clubs. We were viewed as a threat and considered a pitiful gathering of renegade hurling clowns by some of the football ayatollahs of East Tyrone. I recall one journey through the hills of Pomeroy with a minor team on our way to Carrickmore, the republican heartland of Tyrone. The UDR took us off the bus 4 miles outside Carmen. Guns clicked, young lads goaded, insults fired. It was normal procedure. We never got into Carrickmore that evening. They held us at gunpoint for an hour or more. That intimidation is no longer there to that extent but they still face huge challenges trying to keep the club going. We are due an exchange visit soon again. They need our support still and we in turn can learn from the passion they have for hurling against all odds.
PRO: How much of a boost is the gym to the club?
L.M. That’s entirely up to the players. The club has provided the facility for them. I know a lot of the lads use it ; even before they go to work. But it’s the same old story I suspect. Those who need it most probably use it least.
PRO: How do you feel about the age restrains of rural clubs?
L.M. The strength of the GAA is still rural/village based. At times the GAA legislates for Dublin and clubs with big numbers. Sometimes they remind me of the bureaucrats in Brussels; not happy unless they’re drafting meaningless legislation to justify their existence (to the annoyance and detriment of smaller rural clubs).