Lahinch bunkered by losses

FINAL financial figures are expected to show that Lahinch Golf Club suf- fered a loss of €600,000 in 2008.

The number of golfers playing green fee rounds at the world famous golf course declined steeply in 2008 to 12,000, from a high in 2002 of Rol OeF

Since 2006 there has also been a 40 per cent drop in golfing tours visiting Lahinch. The figures are contained in Lahinch Golf Club’s Christmas newsletter to its members.

Club captain and Council Chairper- son, Padraig McInerney wrote, “As you are well aware, these are major recessionary times that we now live in. Lahinch Golf Club is not immune and has been hit by a large reduction in the number of green fee rounds being played during the year, mainly by our American friends.

He added, “These are down from a high of 19,600 in 2002 to 12,000 in 2008. This means that income for 2008 is well down and will result in losses for the year ended December 31 of £600,000 approximately.

“Tour operators golf rounds are down from 5,650 in 2006 to 3,450 in 2008 (40 per cent). The clubhouse refurbishment was deferred for these reasons and will be revisited once we have some stability. We expect these trends to continue into 2009 and we will be budgeting for further reduc- Wey e

Mr McInerney also outlines how the club plans to tackle the problem

of falling tourist numbers.

“Going forward, the council have agreed to tackle these problems in three ways: 1) We are conducting a major review of the club’s overhead, work practices and contract agree- ments to see where savings can be made; 2) We are reviewing our mar- keting strategy with a view to stabi- lizing and maximizing our green fee income; 3) We are also reviewing all categories of club membership, vis a vis the value we have to offer our existing members and prospective


Lahinch Golf Club opened its doors to 22 new members in 2008. Welcoming the new members Mr McInerney explained the new en- trants are “made up of seven spouses and siblings of existing members, nine brothers and sisters of existing members, five from the immediate locality and one, not from the afore- mentioned localities.”


Ahead of season opener on Sunday the Clare manager thinks big and pledges to give youth its fling in 2009.

“We would have been very disap- pointed with our Munster final per- formance in 2008. We felt we should have and could have done a lot better than we did. We really have to make that good for the Clare supporters

who were there that day, the support- ers we felt we let down. We’re going to make that good and that’s our am- bition for the year. Our ambition now is to contest another Munster final and on this occasion to win it,’ Mc- Namara revealed.

“The bar is there. It’s held by Kil- kenny and held high. That’s what we have to attain and that’s what we have to achieve.

“We have levelled off what I used to determine the slide, now we can look with renewed optimism to what hope- fully will be a good league campaign and then an excellent championship campaign. It couldn’t be better. We train and train hard for big days and

big match days and we couldn’t ask for better than a Munster semi-final clash against either Cork or Tipper- ary, he added.

And, in sounding a bullishly confi- dent note for the year ahead, McNa- mara also revealed that youth will be given its fling throughout the season.

“There are some of last year’s panel that we didn’t bring back for a va- riety of reasons. There are a whole new range of people there. There is an open ended panel, with 10 or 12 players who haven’t appeared at sen- ior inter-county level before. We’re hoping that half a dozen of those will represent the county into the future.”

“We saw with the Under 21s last

year some very exciting new talents emerging. They were a very very good 21 team and a refusal to be beaten was written all over them, particularly against Cork in Cork.

‘“There’s excitement there and it’s up to us to target it and while it may not come to the fore immediately, certainly most of the new talent will be appearing and re-appearing through the league and through the championship with one eye to the fu- ture,’ added McNamara.


New force in Clare football?

THE first tentative steps have been taken towards the formation of what could be a new force in Clare foot- ball – a senior football champion- ship alliance between O’Curry’s and Naomh Eoin.


Derg group deny they encouraged objectors

Government called on to help US Irish


Munster fans to try the knot

MUNSTER were not the only ones to pull off a victory when they defeated Clermont Auvergne in Thomond aeuseonleny

When Jerry Flannery pushed over Marcus Horan to give Munster the lead in those fateful final minutes, neither player knew that their actions were going to determine much more than the result of the game.

If that had not happened, then Paul Rossiter would not have been able to go through with his plan to propose to Olive McNamara, daughter of Clare County Manager and Scariff publican, Michael McNamara.

“Thank God for Horan, only for him I would have had to wait until another night and [ had it all planned. When he went over he saved my life, if they had lost I wouldn’t have been able to go through with it,” Paul said immediately after the big moment.

When the TMO finally gave the try over the ref-link, he turned to Olive and proposed in the middle of the mayhem that was going on all around Weloseen

“T was stunned for a minute. I re- member seeing the sparkle of the ring and then it made sense. He was be- side himself until the try was given. In fact, he was acting very strangely all day and I was wondering what was wrong with him, but then it all made sense,” said a delighted Olive.

Paul and Olive have been going out for seven months or so and had discussed getting engaged but hadn’t

made any concrete plans.

Olive is a garda stationed in Nenagh and Paul lives near New Ross and plays rugby with New Ross RFC but has been an avid Munster supporter for many years. Saturday was his 70th Munster match. Knowing that they were coming up for the game, Paul pre-arranged it secretly with the jeweller during the week that a ring which Olive had admired would be ready.

After he proposed and Olive ac- cepted, Paul grabbed professional photographer, Richard Leonard who had been working at the match, to

record the big moment with a picture on the pitch.

The happy couple haven’t yet set a date but are thinking of some time towards the end of 2010.

“It was kind of ironic that we got engaged at a rugby match when my dad is so involved with hurling but When he played for Waterpark in Waterford, we watched rugby every Sunday,” said Olive.


Shannon Leisure Centre issues a warning to SIP TU

THE operators of the Shannon Le1- Sure Centre, where workers have been told that they will be laid off for 21 weeks from next week while a major refurbishment project is un- dertaken, have warned SIPTU of the implications for the future viability of the facility if the works do not go ahead.

SIPTU has already asked that the €1.2m refurbishment plan “be shelved pending discussion on alter- native arrangements which would ac- commodate both staff and patrons”.

The centre’s 15 staff are due to be laid off for 21 weeks from next Mon- day while the work 1s undertaken.

While SIPTU has demanded that the work be put on hold, the board of the centre has warned of the serious implications for the long-term viabil- ity of the leisure centre if the works do not go ahead as planned.

A letter to SIPTU stated, “The board’s position continues to be that the only viable option is to com- mence the renovations and exten- sion on January 5 to ensure the long term viability of centre, guarantee employment into the future, and en- sure that the community continues to have affordable, modern recreation EYOVU BLO oxna

SIPTU Branch Secretary Mary

O’Donnell said, “This centre is fund- ed largely by public contributions and the public purse and we do not believe that it is in the public interest that people who are not affected fi- nancially by this decision should cast aside these loyal employees onto the public social system, while public funds are spent on renovation.”

A spokesperson for the leisure cen- tre said they thought “long and hard about this” before deciding it was the best option from a health and safety perspective.

‘Health and safety issues have to be our primary concern. We can- not have such major works going on while we have staff and clients in the oluun Counersam

Under the plan, the building con- tract will take 20 weeks while the centre will be closed for 21 weeks to allow time to prepare for the reopen- ing. If the works were allowed to go on while the facility was open to the public, it would take 30 weeks and cost up to €200,000 more, money which centre management say “we just don’t have”’.

The board of the centre has restat- ed, “This €1.2m refurbishment is a major investment in the facility and the town and it safeguards jobs at the centre for the future.”

SIPTU say its position is un- changed.


Poland family plea to solve murder

Airport traffic figures nosedive


Victim fears OM NESTA

ALLEGATIONS that a Kilrush man was intimidated and offered cash to drop charges in relation to an alleged assault on Christmas Eve have been made this week.

The claim came yesterday in the case of two young men charged in connec- tion with an incident in the west Clare town on Christmas Eve. Gardai have launched an investigation into the claims and said that the victim of the alleged assault was in fear of going to court yesterday.

Eamon Hall (20), of Wood Road, Kilrush, is accused of stealing a car at Burton Street car park in the town, last Wednesday, December 24.

Another man, Simon Rogers (19), of Willow Green, Kilrush, 1s accused of assaulting the owner of the car caus- bOrea er U OEE

He is also accused of allowing him- self to be carried in a stolen car and damaging another car in Kilrush, on the same date.


No stay of execution for Townies

HOPES in Eire Og hurling circles that Ogonnelloe were about to hand them a Christmas present of staying up at senior level for the 2009 cham- pionship season have been quashed WOM Wiere) © a

Word was rife within Eire Og ranks that Ogonnelloe were on the cusp of lodging an application with the Clare County Board to be regraded from senior to intermediate level for 2009.

Depleted playing numbers and the possible transfer of a couple of high profile players from the club were thought to be at the root of such a move by the east Clare club that has punched above its weight at senior level for the past decade.

However, speaking to


One convention election

THERE was one election at the 2008 GAA convention — for the five places up for grabs among seven contestants for honour of joining board chairman Michael O’Neill and secretary Pat Fitzgerald as delegates to the 2009 GAA Congress.

Robert Frost (O’Callaghan’s Mills), Noel Walsh (St Joseph’s Mailtown), Syl O’Connor (Sixmilebridge), Ger Hickey (Feakle) and John O’Sullivan (Ruan) were the candidates who won out, with board vice-chairman John-

ny Hill (Lissycasey) and longtime Congress delegate Gabriel Keating (Naomh Eoin) losing out. Meanwhile, only one position on the Clare County Board team re- mains vacant, as convention failed to election a Youth Officer. Both Michael O’Connor (Crusheen) and Sean O’Halloran (Bodyke) were nominated for the position, but de- clined to let their names go forward. “It would be very selfish of me to allow my name go forward. I have the position of cathaoirleach of Bord na nOg Jomaint and the job of youth

officer 1s a very important position. I decline my name going forward,” said Sean O’ Halloran.

‘Sean has a lot to offer as youth of- ficer and I would hope that he would re-consider,’ said secretary Pat Fit- zgerald.

“IT too an important a position to be dual mandated,’ responded O’Halloran. “It is a crucial position, especially in the modern era with the development of our games. I believe that the position should stand on its own merits. On that basis I won’t al- low my name go forward.”