It’s been an important weekend for the GAA in County Monaghan. First there was confirmation that the new Uachtarán Chomairle Uladh (President of the Ulster Council) is Ballybay man Martin McAviney. Many in the border area and the Press Golf Society will remember the great work done by his late brother John, a photographer.
At the same time, the GAA Ard Stiúrthóir Paraic Duffy was back in Monaghan to attend a gala ball organised by his alma mater, St Macartan’s College, where he was also the Principal for many years. It was celebrating the 100-year history of the GAA in the College, which includes winning the MacRory Cup on nine occasions, but not since 1956 although they have appeared in two finals in the past decade. On Wednesday week (27th February) the “Sem” will take on St Paul’s Bessbrook (Armagh) in the semi-final of the competition under lights in Armagh (7:30pm).
Martin McAviney is a member of the Pearse Brothers club in Ballybay. He is a member of the Club Committee and a Club Trustee. He has previously served as Club Secretary and Club Chairman and received the Coiste Chontae Mhuineachain Senior Official of the year 1984. He joined the Monaghan County Board as Ulster Representative in 1987 and held the position until being elected as P.R.O. of Comhairle Uladh in 2004, a role he carried out very effectively.
During his term as P.R.O., Martin was awarded the Ulster GAA Writers Communications Award in 2005. Martin took up a position of Cisteoir (Treasurer) of the Ulster Council in 2007, and in March 2010, he was elected as Leas-Uachtarán (Vice President). On his first full day in the new job, Martin was at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh to watch the interprovincial hurling and football semi-finals, previously known as the Railway Cup.
The competition was reinstated to the GAA calendar last year, but has failed to attract the support it used to get in the 1950s and 60s when large crowds would turn up at Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day for the finals. The club finals have taken over the slot and continue to bring in the numbers, but it seems the appetite for interprovincial competitions has faded, judging by the attendances at the semis. So the final of the football competition at Croke Park next Sunday has now been fixed to coincide with AIB Club junior final. The hurling final will be a week later.
HURLING: MUNSTER 3-20 ULSTER 1-14
FOOTBALL: ULSTER 1-14 MUNSTER 1-13
Nice to see former Armagh boss Joe Kernan back in action as coach of the Ulster football side. He expressed his concern at the low attendance, given the quality of football on display. Monaghan made an important contribution to the Ulster side with Conor McManus scoring four points. The team was captained by Scotstown’s Darren Hughes, whose brother Kieran came on as a substitute.
Darren Hughes, Ulster