Dignam lets rip af­ter Leitrim tie

Bray People - - SPORT -

COUNTY BOARD “ARE you sat­is­fied with the present state of foot­ball in Wicklow?” Was the ques­tion asked by Hol­ly­wood GAA del­e­gate Richard Burke at the County Board meet­ing in Bal­li­nakill on Mon­day night last.

The Hol­ly­wood man’s ques­tion came in the wake of the dis­as­trous per­for­mance by the Wicklow Se­nior foot­ballers in their open­ing Di­vi­sion 4 league game against Leitrim in Aughrim on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

Burke was di­rect­ing the ques­tion at the County Chair­man Martin Cole­man.

“Am I sat­is­field? I most cer­tainly am not,” replied the County Chair­man.

“And what are you go­ing to do about it?” Burke pur­sued.

“What are we go­ing to do about it?” of­fered Cole­man. “I don’t know what we are go­ing to do about it. What do you sug­gest we do about it?”

Richard Burke re­minded the County Board meet­ing of a re­port that was con­ducted some years back where a raft of rec­om­men­da­tions had been made with re­gard to the im­prove­ment of foot­ball in the county.

“It was left on a shelf. Take it back down, send the whole lot out to each club. Ask them for their rec­om­men­da­tions, if any. Take the whole thing back in and put it to­gether and have a spe­cial meet­ing be­cause we are gone down the swanny. We have got to do some­thing dras­tic. It’s an em­bar­rass­ment now ev­ery time Wicklow plays.

“I would sug­gest that we would get that much done by the end of March, give the clubs the month of April to look at it and then come back to a gen­eral meet­ing some time in May,” he added.

Martin Cole­man re­minded Richard Burke that the County Board had fa­cil­i­tated the ‘Foot­ball Review’ some years ago but he added that he had no prob­lem call­ing a meet­ing but sug­gested that the first thing that should be done is to ask for sub­mis­sions from the clubs.

“We’ve got to do some­thing dras­tic,” said Richard Burke, “at all lev­els”.

Rathnew Chair­man Bobby Dignam rem­ined the meet­ing about a meet­ing to dis­cuss the Wicklow Se­nior man­ager Johnny Magee where only 12 clubs turned up. He then agreed with Richard Burke about the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion with the Wicklow Se­nior foot­ballers be­ing “em­bar­rass­ing”.

“I’m in agree­ment with Richard about the state of foot­ball in the county be­ing em­bar­rass­ing. I re­ally just can’t fig­ure out what we are go­ing to do with the present set up. I watched a warm up yesterday that the likes of Dublin would do. Twenty min­utes non stop run­ning backwards and for­wards across a pitch and then come out and run 70 min­utes on a heavy pitch. It’s not Dublin he’s train­ing. It’s Wicklow.

“Also, the team se­lec­tion. I can’ un­der­stand what he’s do­ing.

“We had six Se­nior play­ers on the subs yesterday, two from Bless­ing­ton, two from Pat’s and two from Bray.

“These men have played Se­nior foot­ball in this county for the last 10 years and they’re not good enough to get on the county team.

“With the ex­cep­tion of young Jack­son from Balt­in­glass who

is an ex­cep­tional goal­keeper, hon­est to God, it’s so em­bar­rass­ing to go up there, I’ve been at all the O’Byrne Cup games bar one and, I mean, there is no progress. I don’t want to keep go­ing on about this but it was an ab­so­lute dis­grace the way we played yesterday. We were sec­ond best all over the place and we’re do­ing three or four nights a week for what.

“I swear to God, Chair­man, I lis­tened to Paddy Dal­ton on the ra­dio say­ing he was a proud Wicklow man but we’re all proud Wicklow men here too and how An­thony McLough­lin was not on that field at mid­field is be­yond me,” added Bobby Dignam.

County Chair­man Martin Cole­man in­ter­jected to say that An­thony McLough­lin was just com­ing back from in­jury but Bobby Dignam re­minded the Chair­man of the fact that there were six Se­nior foot­ballers on the bench.

“Six Se­nior foot­ballers, Chair­man, six Se­nior foot­ballers on the side­line. I mean where are we go­ing that these men can’t get their places.

“We are low enough in num­bers for Se­nior play­ers to com­mit to this county and Ok, Anto was in­jured, he’s a loyal ser­vant to this county, but there’s one (player) from Balt­in­glass and they’re the county cham­pi­ons. I don’t know who’s pick­ing the team but, ob­vi­ously, he’s not do­ing the right job any­way.

“I’ve been op­posed to him (Johnny Magee) for the length of term he’s there and I’ll op­pose him un­til he’s gone. He has no clue what­so­ever,” he added.

Richard Burke re­turned to the dis­cus­sion to say that he didn’t at­tach any par­tic­u­lar blame to ei­ther the Wicklow play­ers or the man­age­ment team but in­stead he said that the blame lied with the peo­ple in the room in Bal­li­nakill on Mon­day night.

“The prob­lem lies within this room, among all of us, we are all guilty and we’ve got to sort it out or else we’ll have to throw our hats at it,” he said.

St Pat’s del­e­gate Eddie Leonard said that the County Board needed to bring back the sta­tus of the leagues and make them more com­pet­i­tive so that play­ers could be de­vel­oped.

“He said that the leagues are only leagues in name when Se­nior teams have to play Ju­nior play­ers to make up the num­bers. He added that the cham­pi­onship is not re­ally com­pet­i­tive un­til the lat­ter stages.

Eddie Leonard added that Wicklow would have been ex­pect­ing six pi­o­nts from the op­ne­ing three game sof this year’s Di­vi­sion 4 league but af­ter Suay’s re­sult against Leitrim they were now fac­ing a tough task to travel to Water­ford on Satur­day evening.

Michael Sar­gent from Bless­ing­ton lamented that Wicklow just don’t have the fire­power up front to get the scores and he listed out the poor re­turn from the last four games.

Bobby Dignam re­turned to the dis­cus­sion to in­form the meet­ing that they could hold all the meet­ings and re­views they wanted but the facts were that Wicklow had only one good match un­der Johnny Magee and that was against Meath in the cham­pi­onship in Na­van.

“I think we are at the bot­tom of the bar­rell. He (Johnny Magee) should be gone, that’s it,” he added.

Leitrim’s Ryan O’Rourke is held off byWick­low’s Dar­ren Hay­den dur­ing the NFL in Joule Park Aughrim. Pic­ture: Garry O’Neill

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