Drama as Eastern Gaels become Meath's 60th club

February 03, 2023

Dunganny - Meath GAA Centre of Excellence

It was a night of high drama as well as a historic one at the specially convened county committee meeting as delegates voted to give Eastern Gaels the green light to become Meath’s 60th club.

The new club from the East Meath catchment area, specifically Mornington/Laytown, got the go ahead to affiliate by 30 votes to 26, with four spoiled votes, following a secret ballot.  

Both Eastern Gaels and the existing club in the area St Colmcille’s were given 15 minutes each to address delegates with a questions and answers afterwards. A number of delegates spoke in favour of the new club while others were vehemently opposed to it.

Eastern Gaels were represented by Pearse Gilroy - who put forward the case on behalf of the club - Johnny Cairns and Jude McNabb. They outlined their reasons for seeking to affiliate and propose to have one adult men’s team as well as a ladies team. They also have plans for an academy for five to nine year olds in both hurling and football with playing facilities in Mornington. The huge increase in population in the area was outlined with the club promising to provide capacity, create opportunity and increase participation in Gaelic games for young people in the area.

St Colmcille’s were represented by Keith Loughman, James Kelly and Jackser Kavanagh with chairman Loughman giving the presentation on behalf of his club and outlining why Eastern Gaels should be denied affiliation. Neither club were present when the other was giving their presentation while the Eastern Gaels contingent had to vacate the room when the county committee meeting got underway proper.

At the outset chairman John Kavanagh outlined that a subcommittee comprising of vice chairman Paddy Kelly, former GAA President Liam O’Neill, Alan Mulhall, Coaching & Games manager with Leinster Council, and Tomas Brady (Navan O’Mahonys) reviewed the application.

The subcommittee spoke to representatives of Eastern Gaels as well as the current GAA club in their proposed catchment area, St Colmcille’s.

The subcommittee met the Management Committee and gave feedback from both parties. However the subcommittee did not give any recommendations and only outlined the points in a dispassionate manner. 

Following this feedback the Management Committee voted by a majority in favour of the application from Eastern Gaels with chairman Kavanagh pointing out that the ultimate decision lay with the 59 clubs of the county.

The last club still in existence to affiliate was Simonstown Gaels back in 1965.

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