Vinny O’Hara elected Chair of NWU&SA

The North West Umpires and Scorers held their AGM last week and have elected Vinny O’Hara as their new Chair after Graham McCrea stepped down from the role. Stevie Dunn will be the Ballykelly man’s deputy as the ‘new guard’ take over the reins with work to be done to try to build up the region’s pool of officials.

Speaking after he accepted the role, Vinny paid tribute to both Graham and his predecessor, Roly Black.

“Graham had four years as Chair and did a superb job in very difficult circumstances. There were many issues to contend with both on the field and off but he worked tirelessly on behalf of everyone in the Union. I want to thank him personally for his leadership in that time.”

“Obviously recruitment of new members is one of the biggest issues still facing us but together with the NWCU and the clubs we will work to find a solution. We’ve had a few new members come through the training programme last year and bit by bit we’re clawing it back.”

“There are huge opportunities in umpiring now and you only have to look at the success of Roly Black- the top umpire in Ireland in my opinion- to see what is possible. We are lucky too of course to have brilliant people like Dermott Ward, Alfie Dunn, Davy Caldwell and Charlie McElwee to call on and while they are there, the Association has a very solid base.”

“We need to continue to grow our partnership with the NWCU as a matter of urgency. Obviously there have been issues to sort out and I had a very positive meeting with them this week. There have been problems in the past year or two, there is no denying that, but we’ll work together on resolving them.”

“We can’t pretend either that the disciplinary process hasn’t been a major issue over the past few seasons but the North West have promised a complete overhaul this winter ahead of the 2022 campaign.”

“There will now be an independent Disciplinary Committee who will be working off clear and unequivocal regulations. We have to get to the point where there is real transparency in the whole process so that everyone knows where they stand.”

“I accept that Umpires have a role in that too. Reporting must be consistent, and we are looking at adapting next year’s training course to include a section on Umpires’ input into the disciplinary process.”

“I’m delighted as well that Stevie Dunn has agreed to become vice-Chair. That might come as a surprise to one or two but he’s as passionate about his umpiring as he is his playing and he will bring a real energy to the Association. He has some good ideas and is very keen to progress his own learning which is really important.”

“Stevie is someone I’ll happily ring to sound out any issues with.”

“Again, I understand that recruitment is the biggest challenge we’re facing at the minute, however developing that relationship with the clubs and the North West is another huge factor.”

“All parties need to commit fully however because we can’t just keep talking about it, but I honestly believe the desire is there to make it work.”


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