The County Board will have to consider appointing a commercial manager
CONGRATULATIONS to all involved in the excellent of coverage of the County Convention in last week’s paper.
There was certainly no holes barred and unfortunately on many fronts it didn’t make good reading for those at the coalface of Wicklow GAA.
Some of the delegates who regularly attend the Convention were correctly outspoken and from there comments it would appear they are getting increasingly frustrated that there are so few signs of improvement.
Finance is a big concern going forward and with sponsorship down from €95,000 to €40,000 this year it was a major problem balancing the books.
The sale of the pitch in Ashford couldn’t have come at a better time, otherwise the balance sheet would have looked a lot worse.
If we continue to struggle with sponsorship and fundraising in 2015 could we see Pearse Park in Arklow being next asset to go under the hammer?
With limited funding available this is surely going to hamper the development of our county teams so the whole question of funding is a matter for all involved in GAA in Wicklow from the youngest development squad members right up to both county Senior squads.
The costs involved in successfully running Ballinakill are very much up in the air.
Hopefully the outstanding issues surrounding this excellent project can be completed in 2015.
As with any substantial project careful budgeting is a necessity. We must ensure that Ballinakill does not become a bottomless pit.
Could an income be gained by letting out the pitches to local teams without floodlights and/or from Dublin or Wexford county and club teams wishing to play challenge games?
Is its location somewhat of a disadvantage in this regard?
Income fundraised by some GAA clubs, not only in Wicklow but all around the country, is exceptional.
I know of one medium-sized club outside Wicklow who recently raised over €100,000. With the right people involved and the proper promotion and organisation of events large sums can be accumulated.
I think the County Board will have to give serious consideration to the appointment of a full-time or part-time commercial manager. This position could initially be on a salary/ commission basis.
Unfortunately some of the efforts at fundraising to date have been average to say the least.
Most progressive counties have made such an appointment and as counties move forward in a more professional and businesslike manner such an appointment will be standard practice across the board.
Still on the matter on finance it’s brilliant to see the Garden Academy football squads securing sponsorship from MSL Grange Motors in Deansgrange.
This funding will enhance their preparations in 2015 which is good news for all involved.
I have to agree with some delegates who requested a breakdown of the costs of running each individual county team.
If we want our stakeholders to financially support our county teams they need to see where their hard earned money is going.
I would be in favour of these figures being published. However, there should be no reference to what any individual receives in expenses.
It was pitiful to read of basic issues like the heating of the dressing rooms for workshops, the late distribution of reports and the grammatical errors/typos in some of the reports being highlighted in this newspaper.
This must be a considerable embarrassment for those involved and with correct planning should never have happened.
My issue here is if we can’t accurately address the small matters how can we hope to tackle the big issues.
The motion from Hollywood GAA Club in relation to Junior clubs is an interesting one.
Results over the last number years has highlighted the difficultly Junior ‘A’ clubs have in winning that championship.
I see where Junior clubs are coming from here but I am not 100% sure that two different championships, one for Senior clubs with second teams and another for sole Junior clubs, is the answer.
It is important that the team that wins the Junior ‘A’ championship goes up to Intermediate grade.
It was not that long ago that a club won the Junior ‘A’ championship and were allowed to go back to Junior ‘B’ grade the following year.
Most of the strong Senior clubs that have won the Junior ‘A’ over the last few years have now progressed to Intermediate level.
Next year I would predict that a Junior ‘A’ club will win this championship. With Junior teams of the calibre of Knockananna, Kilmac, Kilcoole, Coolboy and Barndarrig the ball is firmly in their court if they want to win it.
I know that the Hollywood motion is on the agenda for the first County Board meeting of the new year and it will be interesting to see what transpires. I don’t envisage any change to the current format.
The recently re-elected County Chairman, Martin Coleman, is fully aware of the many challenges that he as leader of the County Board faces for the coming year.
If we are to be successful it’s important that all clubs unite and support Martin and his colleagues with these difficult challenges.
Let’s hope that this time next year we will be rejoicing having gained promotion from Division 4 of the National Football League, that the hurlers are crowned Christy Ring winners, that our Under-21 and Minor teams in both codes have played to their full potential in their respective competitions and that a Garden Academy is up and running effectively for our hurling squads. These are all very much realistic goals and hopefully we can achieve them.
I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year.