Owen is Reel deal for Armagh

December 8, 2014

Richard Bullick

Owen Reel is back for a third spell as Armagh Ladies County Board Chairman after being elected with an overwhelming majority at last week’s Annual General Meeting.

The Killeavy veteran, who now represents Silverbridge, is a great stalwart of the ladies game who most recently held the top post in 2011 and 2012, assists with the Armagh team in a backroom role and refereed this season’s senior county final.

Reel’s return to the top position should help heal perceived divisions between the powers-that-be and senior county team that had been threatening to tarnish an outstandingly successful season for Armagh ladies which featured a first Ulster title since 2007.

Outgoing Chairman Aidan Haughey had already resigned but some of those tensions were in evidence at the AGM with reappointed Armagh manager James Daly understandably taking exception to unsubstantiated accusations about the team’s attitude to the County Board.

The vote for the top position proved a bloodless coup, acting Chairman Kieran McKeever withdrawing his nomination before Reel romped home against Jim Livingstone who was later re-elected as Development Officer and LGFA Central Council delegate.

In what appeared a conciliatory gesture towards the previous regime, Forkhill’s Thomas Quinn – who had been on the slate of candidates nominated by Reel’s daughter, Sinead – declined to contest the Vice Chair position once McKeever had indicated his desire to continue, meaning the Ballyhegan man was returned unopposed.

An evidently disillusioned Tracy Rogers delivered a hard-hitting report before standing down as Secretary but pledged support to her successor Fiona McNally, a newcomer to Armagh Ladies County Board who has considerable experience in the corridors of power in the men’s game.

Pearse Og captain Donna Nugent will continue as Treasurer with unanimous backing having done a great job since coming into post at Easter following Sinead Reel’s resignation.

It has been an incredibly difficult year for Armagh Registrar Maureen Moley thanks to the imposition of an all-or-nothing new electronic registration system by the LGFA which has caused clubs problems and led to a series of disputes over the fielding of unregistered players and consequent penalties imposed.

The meticulous Moley has had a thankless task this season and after receiving an unacceptable level of abuse and defiance from some quarters was adamant she’d had enough.  The hope is that a new Registrar can be identified ahead of next month’s meeting.

Reel’s election as Chairman persuaded Richard Bullick to reverse his recent resignation as PRO while also taking on the role of Integration Officer responsible for developing links with the men’s game.

Paula Murphy is staying as Children’s Officer with Carrickcruppen’s Pat McGuinness the Armagh delegate to the Ulster Council.  The all-important Fixtures Committee will be elected at the next meeting.

The AGM passed motions to scrap league finals at all levels with the title going to whoever tops the table and restrict promotion-relegation between Division Two and Division Three to one-up, one-down instead of two teams moving.