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'crossroads' Galway can’t ‘drift and be reactive,’ warns Paul Bellew as he eyes chair role

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Galway hurling board chairman Paul Bellew was involved in securing the services of Henry Shefflin, above, as the county's new senior manager. Photo: Sportsfile

Galway hurling board chairman Paul Bellew was involved in securing the services of Henry Shefflin, above, as the county's new senior manager. Photo: Sportsfile

Galway hurling board chairman Paul Bellew was involved in securing the services of Henry Shefflin, above, as the county's new senior manager. Photo: Sportsfile

Galway GAA cannot allow itself to “drift and be reactive” as it currently finds itself at a “crossroads”, the county’s hurling board chairman Paul Bellew has stated.

Bellew made his comments in a document circulated as part of his push to be the next board chairman.

The incumbent Pat Kearney steps down after five years next month and Bellew, who was involved in the appointment of Henry Shefflin as hurling boss last month, has made a pitch for the position, citing five key pillars that must be addressed to prepare Galway for the future.

Galway GAA remains one of the biggest brands but has incurred financial difficulties, issues with a development project and sold itself somewhat short at inter-county senior level with just one All-Ireland title, the hurlers in 2017, in 20 years.

In setting out his agenda, Bellew says change can’t be instigated by one man alone and will need at least 25 “committed individuals” to get his plan off the ground. Finance, infrastructure, communication, club and schools and a strategic plan for the next five years are the pillars that he hopes to enhance a future from.

“Galway GAA is at a crossroads. The choices we make in the coming months will define our future on several different fronts,” he wrote.

“It will impact our competitiveness at inter-county level, the vibrancy of our club scene and the general atmosphere in which we conduct our business together. We cannot allow ourselves to drift and be reactive. We cannot blame Covid and the past and anything else that poses as a reason for not being proactive.

“Over the coming weeks we will see an increased focus on the chairperson vacancy that will arise in December. The chatter and debate this will bring is symptomatic of the issues we face in Galway. The fact is the change required in Galway is beyond any one man or woman in a specific role.”

He was presenting a discussion document aimed at “changing the conversation from ‘who will be the next chair’ to ‘what needs to be done’ and how we go about achieving it.”

Bellew’s plan would involve setting up five five-person committees under these headings by early 2022.

He is advocating a “thorough and professional review of Galway GAA’s capacity to attract sponsorship and commercial revenue relative to its status and potential.

“Galway have some great partnerships and agreements with our main inter-county sponsors and our club championship sponsors but why not more?” he asked. The feasibility of a commercial manager and appointment of a high performance director are other features of his document.


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