FORMER Cork County Board PRO Joseph Blake is looking forward to his next challenge as one of the county’s two delegates to the Munster Council.
Initially, Adrigole clubman Blake had been nominated along with outgoing delegate Michael Byrne (Ballyhea) and Paul McCarthy (Kinsale) for the two spots but McCarthy subsequently withdrew his name. Having served as PRO from 2019-21, Blake is keen to take the next steps on the journey of GAA administration.
“I suppose it was something I was thinking about over the last few months,” he says.
“Obviously, there are two delegates and the maximum term that they can serve is five years. Ger Lane’s term is coming to an end, he’s finishing up at the Munster convention in January.
“I just felt that, after serving my club and serving at divisional level and county level, I would put my name forward to represent Cork at provincial level.”
Blake’s time on the Cork executive extended beyond the primary duties of the PRO as he also served on the county competitions control committee (CCC). This experience will be valuable as he takes on the Munster job.
“Obviously, you have to attend the monthly meeting in Limerick,” he says, “but there would be more to it than that.
“Usually, what would happen is that the two delegates would serve on either the development committee or the CCC. At the moment, Ger Lane serves on the CCC and Michael Byrne serves on the development committee.
“I would have a lot of CCC experience, especially in terms of serving on the Cork CCC for three years. That’s like no other, it’s probably the most complicated one in the country, with the amount of clubs and teams and the dual aspect of that.
“If I was asked to serve on the Munster CCC, I would have a lot of experience from my time on the Cork one. There would be other roles too, but that would be the main focus, either development or CCC.
“The development committee deals with grants, where clubs apply for them around August or September and then they’re assessed as part of a process. The cheques are then given out towards mid-December.”
It’s a job he is ready for and looking forward to, after a year’s break following three strenuous seasons on the county executive. However, his commitments as Beara board secretary meant that he wasn’t idle.
“It was nice to be looking on from the outside,” he says.
“It did feel a bit different going to the Munster championship match, Cork against Limerick in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Having been involved in the dressing-room area, you knew exactly what was going on and you’d see the team bus going into the stadium – there were a few times above in Croke Park where I was on that bus when the footballers or hurlers would be playing.
“It was different, but it was nice.
“The first number of months, we got the Beara senior football team back up and running after Covid. Myself and the chairman, Michael Murphy, were heavily involved in that – we had to find a manager and put together a management team.
“My role then involved a lot of the logistics in terms of the team, organising pitches and venues for training and arranging challenge matches.
“That was a busy first six months and then the last six months, since mid-June, I was heavily involved in the fundraiser for the family and children of Pádraig Crowley, our goalkeeper from the team that won the county in 1997.
“I met with Donal O’Sullivan and Barry Murphy, manager and selector on that team, and I was told what the situation was and a plan was put in place. I was involved in a lot of the organising of the fundraisers that have been held over the last few months.
“Then the team were presented to the crowd at the county final to mark the silver jubilee and there was planning in that too, so it’s been a very busy year.
“I’ve been helping out with the club too, with our festival and different things we had on. It was busy, but it was a different kind of busy compared to the previous three years, more localised.”