Train­ing ban hit­ting weaker coun­ties

Bray People - - Sport -

DIS­AP­POINT­MENT FOR Mick Ha­gan and the fix­tures peo­ple as they were within sight of the winning post with their pro­gramme of matches.

Just one hitch up in Round­wood on Satur­day night may pre­vent them from com­plet­ing their pro­gramme within the cal­en­dar year.

It was the semi-fi­nal of the Dunne Cup be­tween Kil­te­gan and New­town and the fact that the match did not go ahead will prob­a­bly mean that the fi­nal, sched­uled for this com­ing week­end will not now go ahead.

But that’s life – the best laid plans of mice and men.

MICKO AND THE TRAIN­ING BAN!

Around this time a year ago Mick O’Dwyer was pen­cilling the 18th of May in his di­ary and ad­vis­ing every­one else to do the same. That was the day Wick­low were due to play Kil­dare in the SFC in Croke Park – which was the day that would de­fine our year.

No mat­ter what hap­pened af­ter­wards, in O’Byrne Cup, in the League or any­where else Micko kept on say­ing it is the 18th of May that counts.

This year he is al­ready writ­ing in May the 24th as the day that will count most in 2009.

That is the day that Wick­low will take on Long­ford in the first round of the Le­in­ster Cham­pi­onship in O’Moore Park, Port­laoise.

Al­right the set­ting may lack the glam­our of ‘Cro­ker’ and the op­po­si­tion may not whet the ap­petite in the same way that an­other clash with our near neigh­bours did a year ago but you can bet that Micko will be leav­ing no stone un­turned to be ready for an­other big show­down.

Not for the first time the great Ker­ry­man is less than happy with the ul­ti­ma­tum that has come from Croke Park on train­ing, and this time he is not alone in his protests.

From what we are be­ing told this ul­ti­ma­tum on train­ing is seen to be hit­ting the weaker coun­ties the hard­est and al­ready a num­ber of team man­agers are protest­ing long and loud.

In fact Car­low hurl­ing man­ager Jim Greene re­signed as a re­sult of this rul­ing.

He makes the point, a very valid one, that Car­low are step­ping up to the top divi­sion this year af­ter winning the Christy Ring Cup and are due to play Of­faly in their first match early in Fe­bru­ary. Ac­cord­ing to the Water­ford man there is no way he could have a team prop­erly pre­pared for such an im­por­tant match in the space of a few weeks.

A num­ber of other man­agers from the lesser coun­ties have also made their protests, per­haps not as force­ful, but along the same lines – but will they be lis­tened to? Not a chance.

The strong coun­ties will not be hit in the same way, and for a very sim­ple rea­son.

In coun­ties like Kerry, Dublin, Ty­rone or Ar­magh the com­pe­ti­tion for places on the team is such that ev­ery player with am­bi­tions to wear the jer­sey will make damned sure that he has fit­ness lev­els well un­der way be­fore he is called for his first of­fi­cial train­ing ses­sion which is sure to be in the early days of Jan­uary.

He will achieve that level of fit­ness by work­ing alone in his own club gym or in one of the fit­ness and leisure cen­tres that now dot the land­scape.

What is all the new re­stric­tions on what a team man­ager or trainer can, or can­not do about any­way? Burn-out they tell us is the main rea­son but many sus­pect that it may have more to do with the third level col­lege stu­dent, and his avail­abil­ity to his col­lege team man­ager dur­ing the win­ter months.

Lets look at the ‘ burn-out’ fac­tor. The player form the weak county will, on av­er­age fin­ish his pro­vin­cial cham­pion cam­paign per­haps as early as May. He is than guar­an­teed one more match – be it in the qual­i­fiers or the Mur­phy Cup.

His next match with the county team will not be un­til the fol­low­ing Jan­uary. Al­right he will get a few matches with his club, the num­ber will de­pend on how the cham­pi­onship is run in his own county and on how long his club sur­vives. Burn-out how are you – he is more likely to suf­fer from ring rust.

Re­cently we got a look at a sched­ule of train­ing and matches from one of the top colleges. Ac­cord­ing to this doc­u­ment play­ers will be out five nights, or days a week, ei­ther train­ing or play­ing matches – and no re­stric­tions that we know of. An­other player we met told us that in one week he had togged out on six days run­ning in one code or an­other with his col­lege teams. Would that be where the ‘burn-out’ fac­tor clicks in?

Get­ting back to the Wick­low sit­u­a­tion Mick O’Dwyer and his Se­nior team may be the big loser but what about Phillip McGilly­cuddy and his U-21 squad?

From what we are told they are al­lowed to hold two trial matches in the ‘closed sea­son’ but no train­ing. That team is out in the cham­pi­onship in Fe­bru­ary which will give Phillip and his se­lec­tors Mick O’Toole and Co­nan Daye about five weeks to pre­pare for the action. And re­mem­ber this Cham­pi­onship in on a straight knock­out sys­tem so if they lost their first match their year is OVER.

What is likely to hap­pen is this. As soon as the bells stop ring­ing to wel­come in the new year every­one will go into over­drive. Micko, if I know him, will prob­a­bly sit into his car shortly af­ter mid­night in Water­ville and head North to be ready for train­ing shortly af­ter the dawn of day. He will be whip­ping the lard out of his Se­nior play­ers at one venue while Phillip will be down the road in an­other club try­ing to make up for lost time with his U-21s.

At the same time the col­lege com­pe­ti­tions will also be hot­ting up and they will be putting on the pres­sure on their play­ers.

The U-21 matches will run mainly on the Satur­day and the Na­tional League matches on the Sun­day. Is that the road we should be go­ing to cure this ‘burn-out’ prob­lem?

In­ci­den­tally that Un­der-21 match will be away to Long­ford on the 8th of Fe­bru­ary.

KATH­LEEN MCALIS­TER

The An­nacurra Club, their sup­port­ers and friends gath- ered in the ‘Sal­tee’ Lounge in the vil­lage on Satur­day night to cel­e­brate a great hon­our be­stowed on one of their lead­ing mem­bers re­cently.

Kath­leen McAlis­ter has been a pil­lar of the club for many years and has held al­most ev­ery po­si­tion in the club at one time or an­other down the years.

This year she re­ceived a ‘per­son of the year’ award and the club were not go­ing to let the oc­ca­sion go un­no­ticed.

Club Pres­i­dent Agnes Byrne made a pre­sen­ta­tion to Kath­leen to mark the oc­ca­sion and in a brief ad­dress thanked every­one for com­ing and said that it was a well de­served award. Kath­leen had de­voted her life to work­ing for the club and the com­mu­nity and was still their most ac­tive mem­ber.

This was not just an hon­our for Kath­leen but for the club and the vil­lage. ‘We are all ex­tremely proud of what you have achieved’, she said, and on be­half of the club and the com­mu­nity I con­grat­u­late you.

County G.A.A. Pres­i­dent Peter Keogh of­fered the Cc­n­grat­u­la­tions of the County Board and of all Gaels in the county.

This was a well de­served award, and long over­due. Kath­leen has not con­fined her work to the An­nacurra club but has pro­moted the game of camogie ev­ery­where and in ev­ery way she could. Her work with schools teams in her own area and in Ark­low is well known.

She has also served the county in many ways down the years. We in the G.A.A. are also very proud of the hon­our be­stowed on you this year.

BLESS­ING­TON JU­VE­NILES CEL­E­BRATE

The Bless­ing­ton Ju­ve­nile G.A.A. Club held their pre­sen­ta­tion func­tion in the func­tion room of St. Mark’s Com­mu­nity Col­lege on Wed­nes­day.

Over 170 boys and girls, their par­ents and sup­port­ers packed the hall for what was a most im­pres­sive oc­ca­sion.

The Bless­ing­ton club now play hurl­ing as well as foot­ball and every­one present had ei­ther a medal or cer­tifi­cate to re­ceive on the night.

Man power, the prob­lem we hear about ev­ery­where we go ap­pears to be no trou­ble in this club with ev­ery team from un­der eights up hav­ing their own set of men­tors.

Club Chair­man Martin Shan­non was mas­ter of cer­e­monies for the night and wel­comed the guests which in­cluded the G.A.A. Am­bas­sador Leighton Glynn, Peter Keogh, Pat Mitchell and Jimmy Bir­chall.

He thanked every­one for com­ing and all man­agers, coaches and men­tors who help to make the year a suc­cess. Leighton Glynn made the pre­sen­ta­tions and was as­sisted by three of Bless­ing­ton’s own county play­ers Mick McLough­lin, An­thony McLough­lin and Gavin Mur­ray. A spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tion was made to Tom Hen­nessy for his work with ju­ve­nile teams down the years.

Each man­ager then in­tro­duced his own panel of play­ers to be pre­sented with there awards.

John Walsh in­tro­duced the U-8 team who re­ceived Go Games medals and cer­tifi­cates; the U-10 men­tors Stephen McManus and Noel Gil­roy had three sep­a­rate awards for their team as well as Go Games medals and Balt­in­glass tour­na­ment medals.

Player of the year was Adam Boland; Most Im­proved Player – Seán McGarr; Most Ded­i­cated Player – Shauna Byrne.

The U-12 men­tors were Lorcan McMa­hon, Paddy O’Con­nor, Jonathan Daniels, Dessie and An­n­marie Nolan.

This team re­ceived run­ner­sup medals for the South West and also the Balt­in­glass Tour­na­ment medals.

This group were also voted ‘Team of the Year’ and man­ager Lorcan McMa­hon wished the three girls on the team – Tri­ona Hen­nessy, Lauren Thomas and Katie Charles all the best as they moved on to ladies’ foot­ball

U-14 Man­ager - Alan Siney; Player Of the Year - Kyle Geraghty; Most Im­proved Player – James Kearns; Most Ded­i­cated Player – Luke McCormack.

U-16 Man­ager - Gerry Devlin. Player of the Year – Shane Fisher and he re­ceived the Pat Fan­ning Memo­rial Cup; Most Im­proved Player – Dean McGarr; Most Ded­i­cated Player – Stephen Bohan.

The ju­ve­nile hurlers also re­ceived Go Games medals and their men­tors were John Walsh; Ciarán Mur­phy, Derek Bro­gan and Michael Phe­lan.

Ar­range­ments were in the ca­pa­ble hands of sec­re­tary Lisa Charles while the ladies com­mit­tee served tea and re­fresh­ments to all present.

THE CHRISTY RING ALL STARS

Jonathan O’Neill, now surely one of the all-time greats of Wick­low hurl­ing capped what was prob­a­bly his great­est year on the play­ing fields when he was se­lected on the team of Christy Ring All Stars.

Jonathan is the first Glenealy man to take this award and is fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of two Carnew men – Joe Mur­phy who was se­lected in 2005 and 2006 and Don Hy­land who took the award in 2007.

Jonathan had a great year for club and county. John Mitchell made him cap­tain of the Wick­low team at the start of the year. He threw him­self into the job, hook, line and sinker, led by ex­am­ple on the field and never missed a sin­gle match for the year.

He was also Wick­low’s top scorer for the year. In the Christy Ring Cup he scored 128 in three games which put him in third place be­hind Bren­dan Murtagh and Adrian Free­man in the na­tional charts but both of the oth­ers had played more matches.

In the Na­tional Hurl­ing League he scored 1-35 in five matches while in the Ke­hoe Cup, mid­fielder Jonathan scored 0-21. An over­all to­tal of 2-84 in eleven matches.

Jonathan was also the main rea­son why Glenealy re­tained their SHC crown.

A re­mark­able year for a truly re­mark­able hurl­ing artist

YEAR­BOOK

Jackie Napier launched his Year­book in Aughrim on Mon­day night. 184 pages packed with all the facts and fig­ures of the year, colour pic­tures of all the big events and lots of other in­ter­est­ing items and sto­ries A ‘must’ for ev­ery G.A.A. house­hold; a great stock­ing filler and great value at a ten­ner.

GET WELL WISHES

Get well wishes this week to the many G.A.A. peo­ple ill in hospi­tal at present. They in­clude John O’Brien from Balt­in­glass; Niall Moore, Pres­i­dent of the Strat­ford/Grange­con club; Pat ‘Horse’ Doyle, Carnew and many more.

BORD NA NOG

New board chair­man Damien Byrne holds his first board meet­ing tonight (Wed­nes­day) in Aughrim. Fix­tures Sec­re­tary Martin Barnes will be pre­sent­ing his fix­tures plan for the new year at this meet­ing.

Agnes Byrne, Kath­leen McAl­lis­ter, with the Peo­ple of the Year award, and Peter Keogh in The Sal­tee, An­nacurra.

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