John Costello’s Annual Report to the AGM of Dublin GAA is always something of a work of art and while it does follow the traditional GAA path of listing pretty much everthing that has happened over the year, it never fails to deliver in terms of well chosen words of humour, sharp criticism and smart observation across its 50 pages.
This year he was able to confirm that following criticism of the teams ‘robotic’ approach to games that a major internal investigation had taken place but that ‘having examined the sum of the parts of all involved (I) am glad to report that no microchips, levers, wires, transistors, relays etc. were discovered. However, I can exclusively reveal that we did discover that Paul Mannion and Jack McCaffrey do have a sixth gear.
On a more serious note he draws attention to the struggle for land and facilities within Dublin and being able to cope with the significant upswing in juvenile players looking to play.
“We cannot turn Dublin into a city of concrete where it is only possible to work and sleep, he says in the report. “We have to provide an outlet for our youth to play sport and engage in healthy activities.
To this end we learnt in the report as well that work is expected to start on the new Dublin GAA facility at the Spawell complex near Templogue and accessible from the M50 in the middle of 2019.
This will consist of a full All Weather pitch as well as three more Prunty pitches a hurling wall, floodlights, training areas and dressing rooms.
Costello further suggests that “I would be more than happy to work closely with the Government in terms of developing facilities from property that is controlled by NAMA or indeed any other State body.”
“With the GAA’s deep penetration in our communities I feel that there is great scope for the Government to maximise the return to the taxpayer through partnership with sporting organisations who can provide much needed recreational amenities if land is made available at a reasonable and practical cost.”
“The Government and the citizen would enjoy a massive and immediate return on investment – a clear case of value for money with the emphasis on value.”
Now that makes sense and is the kind of collaboration being urged across sport and Government that may well find favour in the coming months.
The report also pays tribute to Commercial Manager Tomás Quinn for the work he has done in building up the commercial partnership side of Dublin GAA and to Declan O’Rourke, John Gillick and the team at AIG who confirmed a five year extension of their partnership earlier this year.
Dublin GAA is the best supported ‘club’ team we have in Ireland. It is in the midst f a period of major success that means it becomes a target for the disdain and criticism of others but that is the nature of sport and the nature of Ireland, that success always needs to be pegged back.
Costello and Dublin will keep their heads down again this year. Under a new Hurling manager they will look to advance further in the small ball and with history beckoning, the pursuit of an unprecedented five in a row All Ireland Senior Titles will be the story of the summer.