Andy O’Brien is a proven administrator and will be a very capable representative
WE have finally got some sort of football competition for Under-20s in the county.
I don’t think we could really call it a championship when the whole competition was played on a Sunday morning but on the positive side at least it’s a start.
I don’t know why it was an Under-20s competition when every other county in the land have the proper and official Under-21 championships. Maybe this was to benefit the county Under-21 football management and selectors in their search to unearth new players.
In this regard I presume the exercise was a helpful one and if this was the case well and good.
No doubt, however, they were slightly disappointed that only four clubs attended on the day especially as one of them was Blessington and I’m sure the manager is already very familiar with this group of players.
If these competitions are going to work in both codes we need to now pencil these games into to our official fixtures booklet. I am of the opinion that a proper Under-21 championship in both codes should start immediate after the both Senior finals.
If a county like Dublin, who have most of their county teams involved in their respective All-Ireland competitions until the latter stages, can facilitate a proper Under-21 competition in hurling and football surely we in Wicklow with less clubs and less obstruction should have no problem doing likewise.
There is after all only one winning team in each Senior championship in Wicklow that will be going on to Leinster and if they don’t want to compete in the Under-21 competitions this shouldn’t be a problem or a reason to delay it.
Unfortunately all our clubs in recent years have failed to go very far in Leinster so this shouldn’t be used as an excuse.
I know from my time in Carlow that they ran a very successful Under-21 championship in both codes and many of these games were played on a Wednesday night in the summer months.
In football they divided the competition into and A and B grade and facilitated group teams in both of these groups.
I think in Wicklow some of the smaller clubs should be permitted to amalgamate if it enables them participate.
If the County Board are serious about this grade and give a guarantee that they will run it properly they should advise clubs now so that they can get their houses in order at this quieter time of the year.
Clubs could then determine early in the year whether they are interested, have enough players themselves or do they need to look at the possibility of forming a group team with a neighbouring club or clubs.
For administration purposes maybe a limit of three clubs at the most could form a group team.
There is no doubt that such an additional competition would extend the year for many clubs.
Is there an appetite amongst clubs for this? Some are of the opinion that there are currently enough football games available for players in the county?
This is certainly not the case in hurling and the intermediate grade is certainly is an example of this where unfortunately players at this level didn’t receive enough games.
Many of the players playing intermediate hurling this year are young and they certainly would have benefitted this year from an Under-21 competition but alas they were let down again by the authorities.
The matter of indiscipline in Wicklow GAA has regrettably once again reached the national media.
This time, however, it took a different route. Normally our problems are highlighted in action picture format but this time they were brought to the fore by one of our administrators.
These latest revelations must ring alarm bells for those with responsibility of addressing indiscipline in the county.
It is hugely concerning that it has got to this stage and the examples that were outlined in the national media are disgraceful and correctly should not be tolerated at any level in our game.
Referees at juvenile games should never have to put up with any abuse whatsoever from over-exuberant mentors.
Hopefully, as a result of these matters being highlighted yet again those who step out of line in future will be dealt with appropriately in accordance with the rules.
I believe that many areas of officiating at games in the county need to be addressed such as consistency of refereeing, grading and fitness so there will be fewer incidents across the board. We all need to work at improvements in this area. It should be noted that many other counties have the same difficulties and it’s not just a Wicklow problem.
Congratulations to Andy O’Brien who was selected as Wicklow’s new delegate to Central Council. Andy is an excellent and proven administrator and will be a very capable representative for the county.
Sean Hayes is a newcomer to the County Board and will act as the Hurling Officer. This is a relatively new but important role and hopefully Sean will concentrate on the hurling development squads in 2015.
It has been highlighted that some of these development squads experienced difficulties this year and for the continued progression of the game in the county it is imperative that the squads are working to their full potential.
It would be great to see some new and more experienced coaching personnel recruited to the squads to support the existing hardworking coaches.
The Wicklow GAA County Awards were announced last Saturday. Congratulations to all the worthy recipients.
Congratulations to the Andy O’Brien who was elected as delegate to Central Council.