St. Patrick’s making return to adult hurling
ST. PATRICK’S GAA Club is to enter an adult hurling team for the first time in five years or more.
The decision to return to the adult hurling scene was taken after much agonising and soulsearching by the Wicklow town club and discussions with county officials.
Hurling for Senior players in the club was dropped following a game at Arklow ending in an ugly scene in the carpark after the match.
A move to restore hurling at Senior and Junior level was mooted this year following their success at Minor level in recent years but it led to heated debate between the hurling and football factions within the club.
The County Board set up a three-man delegation of Jackie Napier, Vice-Chairman Martin Coleman and Jim Bob Doyle to meet with club officers in an effort to break the deadlock and avoid a refusal leading to acrimonious appeals.
In the end St. Patrick’s agreed to enter an Intermediate hurling team in 2011 – besides their usual juvenile teams – a decision that led to some club officials resigning their positions.
A backroom team and professional structures are to be put in place governing discipline and training and hurlers will have to sign up to this code of ethics and discipline before a sliothar is pucked.
Many members of the team will be former Minor players coming up from the juvenile ranks but they will boosted by county stars such as Andy O’Brien, Jim Connors and former great servant Denis Ta O’Brien.
All players will have to participate in the rigorous training programme if they want to be selected on the team.
At the county Board meeting last week, Glenealy’s Ian O’Neill spoke on behalf of hurling in general in the county and welcomed St. Patrick’s back into the adult hurling scene.
Eire Og’s Dr. Brendan Cuddihy felt that St. Patrick’s should be entered in the Senior championship as they would be too strong for the intermediate grade, but Ian O’Neill felt that this was a new venture for the Wicklow club and they should be allowed remain in the Intermediate championship.
Brian Gleeson of St. Patrick’s said that they understood the concern of some clubs. While some of their players were on the county Senior team, a lot of their team would be players coming through from Minor.
This was a long term thing they were putting in place for hurling in St. Patrick’s Club.
The re-emergence of an adult hurling team in St. Patrick’s will put extra pressure on the club’s Dunbur Park facilities for training teams.
The decision will also impact on the futures of Newcastle and Fergal Og clubs whose successes in the last few years were greatly assisted by the influx of former St. Patrick’s hurlers.
It is highly likely that Newcastle and Fergal Og will now be unable to field team on their own, they may have to fold with their players seeking permission to hurl with neighbouring clubs.