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AMATEUR FOOTBALL LEAGUE 2007 ANNUAL REPORT

The Oscar Traynor Coaching & Development Centre, Coolock, Dublin 17

The 53rd Annual Report of the Amateur Football League 2006/7

My 38th Annual Report as the Honorary Secretary.

The season just ending reflects fantastic changes in the Oscar Traynor Coaching and Development Centre. We are entering into a completely new era in the administration of the League and Centre. The historic amalgamation with the North Dublin Schoolboy/girls League over four years ago progressed through the Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council; The Department of Tourism Sport and Recreation, the Irish Sports Council and the Football Association of Ireland. We are extremely grateful for the grants which the Centre has received from the Irish Sports Council and the financial support and guarantee the Centre received from the Football Association of Ireland.

Unsolicited changes to my health in recent months have certainly shown, for the better, the calibre of the voluntary administrators who run your League. On reflection, all these lads have served their apprenticeship well and have passed with honours and the League clubs will benefit greatly as a result.

Perceptions sometimes project a certain image which tend to overlook the background work carried out by the other long serving voluntary Officers. Recently a tribute was paid to Jack Smith and me for our involvement in the League and the Centre over many years. Whilst it’s nice to be honoured, however, we must not forget the work carried out by the likes of Paul Lenehan, Jim Morley, Philip Gorman and Michael Lynch (all with an excess of 20 years each service to the League) in the earlier stages of running the Centre, when these lads concentrated on running football. Together, with the rest of the present honorary officers and executive committee I am very proud to have them as friends as well as administrators. It is with great sadness we acknowledge the death of Eilish Lynch, wife of our Assistant Honorary Treasurer Michael Lynch, who died after a long illness, bravely borne. Eilish was a great companion, friend and wife to Michael and a loving mother to Clare and Brian. May she rest in God’s eternal peace.

We received extensive criticism over the last few years at our lack of success of our Oscar Traynor Representative team. The Honorary Officers and Executive discussed the lack of support from within the League to be part of the Representative set-up. The first decision needed was a training facility every week of the football season. We decided to rent from the Centre the use of the all weather pitch every Wednesday from 8 to 10pm. We then had two candidates for the managership and after listening to his aspiration terms we decided to accept Gerry Davis on his conditions. This is a voluntary position and Gerry spoke to the management meeting and set out his stall. We entered the Oscar Traynor Competition and registered our home pitch as Wednesday on the All-Weather. History records that we have reached the final stage against the Kilkenny & District League on June 10th which will be played in the Centre. How history repeats itself as in 1969/70 season we beat the AUL on our way to winning the trophy. This year we drew with the AUL in the first round and beat them in the semi-final by 3 goals to two. No matter what happens in the final, exceptional credit goes to all the people involved. It goes to prove that what you put into a task will show results. In 1975/76 our team was managed by our Chairman Paul Lenehan and Paddy Kerr of St. Martins and we finished runners up to Kilkenny. It will be a pleasure to have them visit the Centre for the final. Looking back to 75/76 season there was difficulty in selecting a venue for the final and as the Kilkenny League was an emerging league, our League felt that it would promote the game in Kilkenny if we were to travel to Kilkenny. We were not to be successful on the day; however, Kilkenny did us proud by inviting us to a Civic Reception after the match. We look forward to the encounter with anticipation.
This has been a difficult season with the unusual amount of rain that caused the postponement of many week-ends of football. The feedback for a change of season does not encourage serious consideration unless there is united agreement between all Leagues in the greater Dublin area to run the same season as the FAI National League it will not happen. The fact that there is a fall back to join a league staying with the traditional season is a barrier against change.

The responsibility on the elected administrators of the League is to manage cash flow, dependent on the number of teams in the League in the coming season.

We would like to congratulate all our Cup and League winners and runners-up, not forgetting all the teams who did not win trophies, whom we trust, enjoyed their season, despite the effects of inclement weather. Success in outside competitions again eluded our club teams.

We wish to thank the management of the Evening Herald for sponsoring all printed requirements of the League; Dermot Clarke for his weekly coverage of our League and Cup Matches and who did an excellent job, even thought he had reservations about our all weather pitch. We appreciate the work of Ruth Murdiff and her son Dave who continue to ensure the fixtures and results are published each Monday in the Evening Herald Striker. Our new website is the brain child of Kevin Byrne, Hon. Secretary of St Marks Ath.; incidentally his club was one of the founder members of the Dublin Amateur League way back in 1954. The site has many unique features admired by many in the football world.

Since my last report we are fortunate to receive an offer of help from one of our very experienced referees John Whelan to come on board as AFL referee allocations officer. The offer was gladly accepted, especially as it was at the first stage of my illness and John, with the assistance of the Divisional Managers undertook the task I used to fulfill, since Jim Morley gave up as referee allocator.

The benefits of the new person with his referee experience are now being felt by clubs. Together with our long serving FAI appointed Referee Inspectors, Ignatius Martin and Ronnie Marsh, John will be trying to improve the standard of refereeing in our League with a new AFL development programme in conjunction with the FAI Referees and Technical Development Department. Our thanks go to the Directors of the Centre, the Manager of the Centre Declan Smith and especially to the Groundsman Mark Connor for the excellent condition of the all weather football pitch and the Centre itself. We are beginning to see the benefits of the major investment in the Grass Pitch, which will allow football on grass all year round. Whilst waiting on the availability of the renovated pitch in the Centre, we had to avail of the use of Haddon Park, Killester, Sportslink and Lorcan Celtic’s grounds for playing the latter stages of some of our cup competitions, as well as the use of the home teams in semi-finals. We sincerely thank all these clubs for the use of their facilities. Hopefully with the new drainage and sprinkler system we will enjoy the fruits of the Directors investment in the playing facilities in the Centre.

My special thanks go the Divisional Managers, Jim Morley, Richie Dunne, Dermot Murphy, Peter Connolly and Paul Lenehan for their untiring work in making fixtures and trying to please the many Managers and Club Secretaries seeking favours in getting matches called off at short notice and to Philip Gorman and Michael Lynch, who have the difficult task of ensuring that all monies due to the League are paid.

In these difficult times of retaining experienced volunteers, no words of mine are adequate enough to thank our very meticulous and dedicated Registrar Bob Donnelly, who looks after all of the Registrations and the manual compilation of League tables from poorly returned referees cards;. Peter Connolly, who in his role as Assistant Honorary Secretary continues the difficult task of looking after International Match Tickets and has taken over a large part of my daily tasks as your Honorary Secretary; The Executive Committee of Peter Connolly, Ron O’Shaughnessy, Noel Daly, Dermot Murphy, Richie Dunne and Bob Donnelly plus the other officers, when available, continue to spend long hours dealing with reported offences on the field of play. All deserve sincere thanks for their efforts in keeping discipline within the League. A task which continues to be difficult.
Your Honorary Officers and Trustees and the Trustees and Honorary Officers of the North Dublin Schoolboys/girls League look forward to the future with increasing confidence, with the aspiration of re-introducing the Under 19 Division football, made up of teams essentially from our two leagues. Our Coaching & Development Centre will be for the greater good of everyone connected with both leagues and the Leinster Football Association and the Football Association of Ireland now that the FAI has designated it as a Regional Coaching Centre.

For and on behalf of the Amateur Football League

Noel kennelly

Honorary Secretary. 28th May 2007