‘WICKLOw HurLING Is At A GOOD PLACE At PrEsENt’
WICKLOW GAA seen a change in hurling officer at the 2014 Convention as Jim Bob Doyle’s five-year stint came to a close. Elected into the position without challenge was Avondale’s Sean Hayes who declared that he was grateful for the opportunity and that he wished to bring hurling up to the next level in the county.
Jim Bob Doyle’s final report outlined his workings for the past year and highlighted some of the frustrations felt at the coalface of hurling in the county.
“My report this year will be my final one as hurling officer as my five years in office is coming to a close. It is with sadness I am writing this, I have enjoyed my time as hurling officer although there have been times that I have regretted taking on the job, when I couldn’t see any immediate progress and became frustrated. It has been an honour and a privilege to represent my county and my club and I would like to thank everyone who helped and supported me in any way over the past five years.
“I hope on reading this you will realise how much commitment and time is spent by everyone on management going to meetings, matches and just because your title is “hurling officer” that doesn’t say you don’t look at all aspects of Wicklow GAA. Wicklow hurling is at a good place at the moment we have good talent coming through and if the clubs of the county get behind them we will be very close to making a breakthrough in the Christy Ring competition.
January started with great expectations as Leinster council had expressed interest in helping promote hurling in the county and they offered their support. We put together our proposals of what we thought would promote and strengthen hurling in Wicklow. Some of the proposals were, to set up a committee to look after all aspects of the game of hurling from under age to adult and bring our findings back to our management for approval. Another was to provide outside games for adults and Under-16s as we had noticed at this age there is high drop off and very few games for these teams within the county.
“In February our committee was set up by our Games Manger Hugh Kenny where he sent out invitations to anyone who would be interested in working on this project. All clubs and some individual’s received invitations unfortunately fewer than we hoped answered the call. The few people that did are working well and are unknown to many there is very good proactive work been done e.g. more internal games been set up, progressing with development squads. Hopefully the fruits of our work will be seen in coming years. I take this opportunity to thank each and every member of this committee for their work and dedication and wish them well in the future.
“As I stated earlier we wished to start an outside adult competition with our Senior teams. Eight teams were to take part in this event. Plans and dates were sent out to the clubs with a hope that they would see the benefits of this competition. Our representative on Leinster council, Lester Ryan was notified and plans were put in place by them to facilitate this into their clubs. Sadly only one club came back with an interest. Having to inform Lester Ryan that our clubs in Wicklow were not interested was one of the most upsetting and embarrassing things I had to do as hurling officer. Yes there was work to be done on the project but only to get one club to show an interest and reply informs me how far behind Wicklow club hurling management is and how short sighted they are especially for the youth of our clubs.
In May we looked at fixtures and I have to commend our fixtures organisers because it’s a thankless job, one that I would not like to do myself. Our juvenile fixtures have to be looked at. Some clubs do not want to play at certain times of the year and others don’t want to participate in various competitions. It must be a nightmare for anybody to do this and hold down a job as well as organise fixtures. Our Minor fixtures went to our Senior representatives which I don’t agree with because they are trying to arrange Senior, Intermediate andJjunior competitions.
Most of our Minor boys are tied up with these competitions also leading to clubs and mentors not willing to participate. For example this year we got the Minor football final played with our Senior final which was great, but our hurling final was left for the muck and slop of November weather and with only four teams in the competition it just doesn’t make sense. (Something has to be done here; maybe getting dates down at the start of the year and not letting any other events interrupt the set dates.)
“Being the hurling officer of Wicklow has been a great honour and whoever takes over my job I wish them the best of luck. If there is anything I can help with or advise them on all they have do is ask and I will be more than happy to help. It’s a hard job as i have stated all ready and I’ve made a few mistakes over the last five years. I have made some people very unhappy and I sincerely apologise for this. Hopefully I’ve made more friends over my time as hurling officer. I have always tried to do the right thing for hurling in Wicklow. I thank you for the opportunity and giving me the honour of being your hurling officer. I would like to wish each and every one of you a happy and peaceful 2015. Thank you,” he added.
Wicklow’s new hurling officer, Sean Hayes from Avondale.