Christmas... A time for family, friends, questionable knitwear and 18,000-word secretary reports.

The drop in temperatures and office party season signals the start of a perplexing period in the 15-month GAA season. With competitive matches, outside of Stephen's Day married v singles games, all but squared away the focus turns to county conventions.

The annual meetings, at club level also, are vitally important, with historic executive appointments made, and ambitious motions shot down. Other even more ambitious motions may eventually see the light of day at Congress in the spring.

It is GAA democracy in action. In all its mundane, necessary glory.

Less necessary but just as much a part of the rigmarole now is the secretary's report, which tends to be made available in advance of the convention.

Normally drafted by the county secretary, with help from the PRO in some counties, these reports that started out as a basic 'what we achieved in the last 12 months' documents have been transformed in recent years into annual state of the union style addresses.

Wrongs are righted, scores are settled and solutions to most of the world's problems are suggested - from one very specific point of view.

Coincidentally, at a time of the year when GAA news is thin on the ground, and working on the principle that paper does not refuse ink, these reports tend to garner quite a lot of attention.

Especially if there is something juicy within. 

And so, in December, stories that should have died peacefully long before before the clocks went back resurface at Christmas like the ghost of Championship past.

Refereeing decisions are revisited, pundits are taken to task, congress votes are reexamined and agendas are checked.

Revenge is served colder than the air temperature in the frozen midlands as normally sober GAA administrators settle scores like Father Ted accepting his Golden Cleric Award.

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"Eventually, I got out of his headlock and, now, where are you Father Bernard Flynn?!"

Certainly the argument can be made that a county stung by criticism in the media has a right of reply, but waiting five months can make their riposte seem petty rather than justified, and the criticism can often drown out the more substantial updates

Recognition of achievements can be lost also.

In keeping with their status as the finest teams on the football field, Dublin and Mayo released bombastic reports this week, with Dublin's John Costello taking aim at pundits who are committed to the 'cult of me', while Bernard Flynn's Aidan O'Shea selfie anecdote was blasted once more by Mayo's PRO.

Dublin's report can be read here, while Mayo's is available here.

Moving on...