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.

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