That Sean Boylan transformed Meath football is unquestionable. Under his stewardship, the county enjoyed its greatest ever era of success. Players like Joe Cassells, Gerry McEntee and Colm O’Rourke had long soldiered in the green and gold for scant reward until the legendary herbalist assumed control. It wasn’t only in terms of on field matters that the Dunboyne man led a revolution though…
Before he took over and indeed during the initial years of his tenure, he had a coalition of seven selectors working alongside him. Eventually, this was whittled down to two with Pat Reynolds and Tony Brennan being the first successful duo. It is timely, now, however, to reflect on that period of having multiple assistants.
Among them at one time was Joe Tormey from the Donaghmore club – as it was then. He was part of the Meath management team that masterminded a sensational victory of the then defending All Ireland kingpins Dublin in the 1975 NFL Final.
Now, many families have strong sporting histories and that of Joe and his family stands up with the best of them. His wife, Terry, has been a mainstay of Camogie in Meath for decades, while other members of the family have been involved both when the club was Donaghmore and since its rebranding as Donaghmore/Ashbourne. His daughter Caroline has been involved with St Peter’s Dunboyne for many years also and plenty of Joe’s grandchildren have represented Meath at various levels. The family have also been involved in horse racing and stock-car racing over the years.
Next Monday, Joe’s son, Conor will be hoping to continue a family tradition of service both sporting and otherwise when he runs for election for the position of Meath Co Committee Chairman. Having served on Meath Co Council for many years and also been at the helm in Donaghmore/Ashbourne during the developments which culminated in them having some of the finest club facilities in the country, and been Co Committee Vice Chairman in recent seasons, he has both the experience and track record for such a task.
He is enthusiastic about the prospect of taking Meath GAA forward: “ I plan to take a root and branch evaluation of the administration in the county with an emphasis on developing talent by way of good structures, regular games, good coaching and the pursuit of excellence of the playing fields”.
Coupled with his vision, however, is a realisation of the very real challenges facing the county going forward. The importance of referees to our games can never be overstated and Tormey has pledged, if elected “Continuous support and the opportunity to up skill” from the Co Committee to the county’s match officials.
Coming from a dual club, he is also acutely aware of the need to promote hurling in the county and he is committed to engaging with clubs and providing them with whatever support they require to prosper.
There are big challenges off the field too, none more so than the redevelopment of Pairc Tailteann. Having overseen the €6.5m development within his own club, it is a task he has the experience for and one he would relish tackling, he said “We need a top class modern stadium capable of regularly holding Leinster Championship and Qualifier games. The replacement of the stand and improving the areas that are currently grass banks would form the core of this”
He also acknowledges that the county’s grounds at Dunganny need “proper changing facilities urgently”. “We should be pushing harder for funding from Croke Park, Leinster Council and the National Lottery to bring these necessary improvements to fruition” he stated.
Conor is under no illusions as to the magnitude of the mantle he is seeking to take on but is determined enlist the help of people on sub committees who “ are willing to get the job done for the betterment of Meath GAA”. If clubs elect Conor Tormey they will have somebody with the ambition and experience to do just that.