A vital gathering of ‘The Gathering’

ARE WE THERE YET, are we there yet, are we there yet, roars out the radio advert and we all know what that means ... the end of the year is nigh as the ‘Christmas Appeals’ move into top gear; the big fella is on his way and for those involved in Gaelic games affairs ... it’s annual convention time, writes Tommy Callaghan.

ARE WE THERE YET, are we there yet, are we there yet, roars out the radio advert and we all know what that means ... the end of the year is nigh as the ‘Christmas Appeals’ move into top gear; the big fella is on his way and for those involved in Gaelic games affairs ... it’s annual convention time, writes Tommy Callaghan.

Ah yes, annual convention.

One time a near day-long affair.

From an administrative point of view, the highlight of the year.

A gathering of club representatives of every football and hurling clan in the county when the season that had just petered out was forensically examined; future plans hatched; dreams reborn; finances scrutinised.

Often, rightly or wrongly, a time for looking forward more than looking back.

And a Christmas dinner thrown in for good measure!

Ah yes, those were the days.

Days when to go to convention to represent your club was looked upon more of an honour than a chore. A time when only the senior members of the club were given the opportunity to attend.

How times have changed.

In fact, in these fast moving, time for nothing days, the opposite is often the case when it is not unknown for some clubs to struggle to be represented at all.

In some cases that is in fact what happens.

Take a look at last season’s attendance list as an example.

One of the biggest and most successful clubs in the county was not represented at all; another club, of similar stature, sent one voting member and another, very active at monthly county gatherings, could also only muster one solitary body also.

And many more clubs fall into the same category.

Will it be the same come Saturday?

Who knows. Maybe. Maybe not.

Hopefully every club in the county will be represented at this convention in what could prove to be the most important ‘gathering’ within the ‘shortgrass family’ for some time.

It has been a somewhat turbulent year for Kildare from an administrative point of view, never mind from a playing point of view.

Top jobs are up for grabs for various and varied reasons.

Some would suggest that is a healthy sign. A sign people are anxious to give of their time for the cause.

Others would suggest that when every one of the executive jobs is being contested it is a sign of discontentment at the top table; an uneasiness; a lack of togetherness; a lack of belief, even trust.

Regardless of one’s point of view, as your man at the end of the counter says, we are where we are and we have to deal with it.

No doubt some horse trading will be seen (well maybe not see, more carried out if you get me drift) but regardless it looks at this point that the top jobs will be requiring the use of tellers.

So Saturday’s meeting is a vitally important one.

There are some major obstacles confronting Kildare, not only in the year ahead but in the next number of years. Finance, and that infamous bail out loan of half a million (although a healty balance of some E25,000 or so in 2012 is very encouraging); the future of St Conleth’s Park; the lack of success on the playing fields; the bringing on board of a new sponsor.

The list is endless. The problems immense.

So when club delegates sit down to decide who to vote for they should do so with these problems firmly in mind.

Time to leave the personalities outside the door.

Time to leave aside who is or isn’t a nice guy.

Time to forget about past disagreements.

Time to disband this camp and that camp.

Time to put the county first and foremost.

Time to vote for those who are capable of getting the job done, properly, efficiently and effectively.

No, we are not there yet but with the right leadership, the right decisions, the right policies, we will get there, sooner rather than later.

It’s a rocky road ahead but hopefully the fight back begins on Saturday evening.

Anything else does not bear thinking about!