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Óráid an gCathaoirleach

January 13th, 2024

A Iar Chathaoirligh is a cáirde uilig, is mór an oréir dom bheith anseo anocht i bhurláthair mar Cathaoirleach Chomhairle Laighean.

Once again, we had a highly successful year on the field with some great storylines across our competitions. 

In Hurling, the Bob O’Keeffe cup’s fate, came down to the wire with Kilkenny snatching a victory. 

Our U20 Hurling Championship was one of many highlights.

A capacity crowd in Netwatch Cullen Park were treated to a fantastic game with Offaly claiming the day.

In minor we welcomed Galway into our Championship and the Westerners proved to be deserving Champions when they saw off Kilkenny in the Final.

A lot has been discussed of hurling lately and the recent CCC proposal certainly gave hurling a platform in the various media sources and of course with the keyboard warriors.

As I always stated, the proposal originated from some of the counties with the view of improving hurling at underage and club level, and I welcome the fact we have lower tier hurling counties in Leinster that have committed toimprove the hurling structures in their counties.

Our Senior Football Championship saw Dublin retain the Delaney Cup when they overcame a gallant Louth side. Congratulations to Dublin on returning Sam Maguire  to the province.

Kildare look to be a coming force, their U20s claiming Leinster on the way to All Ireland glory.

In minor it was Dublin that were deserving champions.

Most recently we have wrapped up another excellent AIB Provincial Club Championship campaign. Best wishes to all the clubs from the province in the up-coming All Ireland Finals.

On the disciplinary front it proved to be another busy year for our Hearings Committee. Thanks to Eamonn Denieffe and his committee for their support. The extra games have certainly led to an increase workload on our volunteers with discipline matters

It was a busy year on the Marketing front led by PRO Brendan Minnock. The success of our streaming service through Leinster GAA TV on Clubber went from strength to strength. In total over 120 games were streamed, a fantastic effort in the promotion of our games.

Again, a focus for us this year was the support we could provide to Counties and PROs. A big thanks must go to all our Counties who playedhost to our games and who did an excellent job in doing so. This year we will continue this work, alongside providing enhanced training opportunities for County and Club PROs


On the Commercial side of things, my thanks once again to our partners O’Neill’s and Beko, who’s support has been steadfast. In recent times we have welcomed Dioralyte as title sponsor of the Accident Tournaments, and I have no doubt the partnership will be a success for all involved. 

Regarding the Accident tournaments, I wish to acknowledge the support of all our counties and I believe we have the competitions structures in place that will benefit the players. Recently the GPA proposed that we abolish the tournaments,not taking into consideration that the gate receipts help support an injury and hardship fund for all our players and not just the two percent they represent.

A much-maligned area within our association is that of refereeing and officiating. Under the guidance of John Bannon and Martin Whyte a training & development programme has been put in place by Jamie Queeney. The programme will help develop our Referees physical and technical attributes, while also providing psychological support and training. The province is certainly to the fore in supporting our official’s


On the field it was a proud year for the Province with both Senior Finals having Leinster men at the helm. Congratulations to David Gough and John Keenan for the successful role they played in two exciting finals this year. 


Last year Scór had an increase in participation from counties which had found it difficult to recruit entrants over the past number of years.  It was wonderful to see participation from all twelve counties in Scór 2023. Congratulations to all our provincial winners in particularly Birr Figure Dancers, Carnew Emmet’s Novelty Act and to Killoe Óg quiz team who brought All Ireland titles back to the province.


On a sad note Scór lost two great servantsduring the year, James “The Bear” Doran from Carnew and former Leinster Scór secretary Dónal Hickey, sincere condolences to both families

Special thanks to Catherine Daly and Áine Kennedy and everyone involved in promoting Scór throughout the province.


Another great year of Wheelchair action took place in 2023, results were mixed but the tournaments were a success in many respects.

It would be remiss of me not to mention our Provincial representatives who made National appearances for Ireland Sean Bennett, Alex Hennebry, and Vice-Captain Melanie Griffith all played starring roles, while on the coaching ticket we were represented by Tom Carey. 

I wish to acknowledge the great work of Brian Carberry and Pat Lynagh who give up endless hours with our games for all programmes.

Our Health & Well Being Committee chaired by David Murray and supported by Aideen Howlin continue the growth of the GAA Healthy Club programme. We now have one hundred and twenty Clubs in Leinster recognised as Official Healthy Clubs.


Last year we hosted two successful conferences with top-class speakers sharing knowledge with over four hundred club and academy squad coaches in attendance.

Games Development is to the fore in Leinsterand 2023 was no different with James Devane and Alan Mulhall continuing to lead from the front.

Throughout the Province, one hundred and fifty thousand children receive coaching from Leinster GAA Personnel.

This is irrespective of whether they are GAA affiliated or not.

A great service to our communities and one we should all be proud of. 

Supporting our volunteer Coaches is another key priority for us, and this year we did so in several ways. Our TURAS programme continues to provide upskilling opportunities on a continual basis in clubs.

2023 also saw a phenomenal amount of activity at Post Primary level in the Province with over 1,300 teams active in our Post Primary competitions.

The Cumman na mBunscol Committee also had a busy year with Half Time games across our Senior Championships including their own Development and Regional blitzes. Thanks to everyone for their contribution.  

Ever a talking point within our Association are Fixtures. In Leinster, the level of activity continues to outdo itself. Under the guidance of Joe Daly and our Fixture Analysts Committee over twenty-five thousand games were played in our province in 2023.  

We have shortened the club window at provincial level and each county will have the flexibility of a minimum of two weeks extra for their county championships, we will need your support and some flexibility will be required to ensure the smooth running of our games with the timeframe we now have for the provincial championships.

Our twinning partnerships continue to develop, this year we supported Gaelic Games Europe and helped develop a Strategic plan, deliver coaching courses across the Middle East and provide Coach Developer training for Australasia.  

Congratulations to Amsterdam in winning both European club championships thus representing Europe in our junior championships. Theyacquitted themselves admirably on both occasions.

2023 was a progressive year on the infrastructure front, both Longford and Dublin acquiring land to develop their respective Centres of Excellences, Wexford extended their Centre with three extra pitches and floodlight at Chadwick’s Wexford Park. Meath progressed with their extension to Dunganny Centre Of Excellence while also progressing the design stage of their main grounds. Louth have regrouped and are finalising their plans. The highlight of the year is the advancement of the redevelopment work in St Conleth’s Park.  

We invested €1.40 million in club grants in 2023, and this administration will always encourage investment in facilities particularly purchasing land for further development.

4G pitches is still to the fore and special thanks to Jason for his detailed presentation, we welcome proposals from counties to up- grade their training facilities with the installation of a 4G pitch which will also benefit and expedite the integration of all our units.

As this province is progressing with several infrastructure projects, we need to offer some comfort with funding to our counties. We did say we would be prudent, and we have been,and we will continue the process of controlling our costs.

Accountability also must come to the fore, as an Association we contributed over €3.4 million euros to the GPA in 2022 at a time when we withheld funding to our clubs. In return we had player protests a refusal to promote our games,and the antagonistic language such as, and I quote, will be organized and mobilised for protest action”.

I personally am not happy with aspects of how the GPA spend the precious resources allocated to them annually – a recent presentation to Ard Chomhairle on their accounts revealed a significant spend on items such as match day tickets, on entertainment in corporate boxes, and on donations at a cost of almost a quarter of a million euro, of our funds, to various other bodies. All of this at a time when every county board seems to be flat out fundraising to sustain the county game, and when we have volunteer Chairpersons having sleepless nights about their county’s finances, struggling to meet the demands of their teams and maintain their facilities.

As I said accountability must be to the fore and the word runaway train is a term constantly referred to in the preparation costs of our teams. We all have a duty to control costs and evaluate our spend. It is not, and it won’t be sustainable, and the question for everyone sooner than later is how we can stop, when do we stop and who is going to say stop.  

During the past year, we lost family members, friends and colleagues. To the families and communities of all our departed loved ones I extend my deepest sympathy. On my own behalf, I want sincerely thanks everyone who offered their condolences on the passing of my Mother,it is much appreciated.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the staff of Aras Laighean, under the guidance of Michael Reynolds.  The continued loyalty and efforts of our staff in Aras Laighean is greatly appreciated. The benefit of their experience has always been a great help to both the clubs and counties within the province.

I would like to thank each county, their officers,and volunteers for the courtesy and welcome afforded to me throughout the last year. It has been a pleasure for both Laurena and I to travel to matches and functions.

I have always considered our role as a provincial body to serve you the counties. I hope that in the last twelve months we have filled that role to your satisfaction.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the members of all sub committees for their work throughout the year, To my officers, management committee and Council members sincere thanks for your support, advice and guidance in 2023.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh

Derec Ceannt

Cathaoirleach Comhairle Laighean

Carlow GAA
Dublin GAA
Kildare GAA
Kilkenny GAA
Laois GAA
Longford GAA
Louth GAA
Meath GAA
Offaly GAA
Westmeath GAA
Wexford GAA
Wicklow GAA