Andy O’Brien is a proven ad­min­is­tra­tor and will be a very ca­pa­ble rep­re­sen­ta­tive

Bray People - - SPORT - THE MICHAEL NEARY VIEW

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.

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