Ballypickas transfer saga rumbles on

Ballypickas GAA club have cried foul once again after the Laois county board refused the transfer of two juvenile players who wished to play for the club.

Brothers Joshua and Euan Brennan were the latest names to be drawn into the mix, as both had made declarations to play for Ballypickas. As they were already playing football with Spink-Ballinakill, the county board deemed they should hurl with Ballinakill also, and turned down the application.

Ballypickas club secretary Mary Whelan outlined her club’s frustration over the decision at Monday night’s county board meeting, and revealed that the brothers had been driven from the GAA as a result. “I feel it is my duty to express the concerns of the club. The Brennan family have ceased all participation with the GAA as a direct result of decisions made at county board level, to pursue other sports such as rugby, which will not split their family.”

Joshua and Euan’s older siblings have already played for Ballypickas, and with the family now split between two clubs, the county board’s decision has raised considerable ire within Ballypickas.

Whelan went on to voice the club’s disappointment with the county board, stating that an unhealthy rivalry was developing between Ballypickas and Ballinakill because of “bad management by the officers of the county board.”

Laois GAA chairman Brian Allen refuted those claims, and stated the transfer was turned down due to established criteria for transfers in the county. “The case was dealt with under rule, and it was prevented because of criteria which are already there.

“I disagree we set out to rule against any one area, other people were refused as well.”

The debate rumbled on however, with Allen voicing his disapproval to the Ballypickas club issuing a document to all delegates at the meeting outlining the clubs frustrations with the county board, as well as a map outlining their precarious location between the Abbeyleix and Ballinakill parishes. “I was very disappointed there was a document handed out here tonight without it being shown to the county board first” stated Allen.

The tension continued to rise when Mary Whelan admitted that she has “left these meetings gobsmacked month after month because they are conducted in such a vague manner.”

The continued debate over the issues facing Ballypickas regarding their catchment area, which has come up repeatedly at county board meetings, eventually saw a number of club delegates lose their patience too, with Camross’ Sean Mortimer asking. “Can this not be sorted out outside of these meetings?

“It goes on and goes on and goes on and the meetings shouldn’t be held up over the same thing.”

Brian Allen responded by saying the county board “have put a lot of time into it” in search of a resolution, with The Rock’s delegate Pat Delaney suggesting that “maybe ye should put more time into it.”

Both the county board and Ballypickas eventually agreed to seek a meeting with the Leinster Council in a bid to end the dispute once and for all.