Im­pres­sive plan in place for hurlers

Ma­jor in­vest­ment in 2019 Mi­nor squad

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT -

THE fu­ture of hurl­ing in Wick­low looks to be in very safe hands if next year’s Mi­nor hurlers grasp the won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity be­ing pre­sented to them by Wick­low hurl­ing GDA Jonathan Tal­lon and his back­room team.

Jonathan Tal­lon was speak­ing at a spe­cial evening in Laragh where the un­der-16 team that won the Michael Fo­ley Shield last sea­son were to be pre­sented with their medals. That team will now form the back­bone of the Mi­nor hurl­ing squad of 2019 who will en­joy a struc­ture and train­ing regime un­heard of for un­der­age hurl­ing teams in Wick­low.

‘The plan go­ing for­ward is that we are go­ing to re­gion­alise the county,’ said Jonathan Tal­lon, at the Mi­nor hurl­ing launch and pre­sen­ta­tion night in Lyn­ham’s of Laragh last week­end.

Tal­lon pre­sented an am­bi­tious and in­tel­li­gent plan for 2019 that sees the county split in two and im­pres­sive re­sources in terms of strength and con­di­tion­ing, med­i­cal, nutri­tion and or­gan­i­sa­tion.

‘We have 38 un­der-17 play­ers who have been in­vited up and we have 21 un­der-16 play­ers who have re­ceived word about it as well. There are huge play­ing num­bers there for Mi­nor hurl­ing,’ he added.

‘In­stead of try­ing to get ev­ery­one down two nights a week to Bal­li­nakill – it’s a long drive, over an hour for some peo­ple – what we are go­ing to be do­ing is split­ting the county straight down the mid­dle, so there’s go­ing to be an East team and a West team. You’re go­ing to be train­ing in your dis­tricts for five weeks be­fore Christ­mas, a two-week break at Christ­mas and then your back in for four weeks after Christ­mas,’ he added.

Tal­lon went on to de­scribe the sched­ules for both teams with the East side do­ing gym work in Dun­bur Park on a Tues­day and a pitch ses­sion on a Satur­day morn­ing. For the West side there will be a gym ses­sion on a Thurs­day in Kil­te­gan and a Satur­day ses­sion at a venue to be de­cided each week.

‘On Feb­ru­ary 2, the East will be play­ing the West in prac­tice games,’ said Tal­lon, who then showed the young hurlers present their new train­ing tops which they will be as­signed and will have to look after them­selves and bring to train­ing.

A short break in train­ing will then be fol­lowed by a short break and then a six-week block (re­gional train­ing on Wed­nes­day and Bal­li­nakill for matches on a Satur­day morn­ing. The play­ers were also in­formed that there will be a Face­book page (pri­vate) where videos of the prac­tice game will be pub­lished where play­ers can view their own per­for­mances with feed­back avail­able at all times from the coaches.

‘At the end of that we will have a pro­vi­sional ‘A’ and ‘B’ panel se­lected,’ said Tal­lon. ‘then we’ll go back into a four-week re­gional train­ing block. When it comes to April, we’ll start split­ting the train­ing, so the ‘A’ panel will train as the ‘A’ panel and the ‘B’ panel will train as the ‘B’ panel. That doesn’t mean that you’re on the ‘A’ or the ‘B’. You can be bounced from the ‘A’ to the ‘B’ and from the ‘B’ to the ‘A’ right up un­til May 1 when the Celtic Chal­lenge starts.

‘The Celtic Chal­lenge is a Tier 2 com­pe­ti­tion. What we’ve de­cided to do is play two teams in this com­pe­ti­tion so that you are guar­an­teed five games rather than just two. It is a Tier 2 com­pe­ti­tion, but you have six di­vi­sions, there are eight groups and five teams per group. The top two di­vi­sions are all pooled to­gether, and you come out with two ta­bles. It’s a league sys­tem and how­ever you fin­ish on your league you go into ei­ther Di­vi­sion 1 or Di­vi­sion 2 quar­ter-fi­nal.

‘Wick­low typ­i­cally op­er­ate around Di­vi­sion 5, which is sec­ond last, and as the lads who were in­volved last year will know, you were in the pool with the Di­vi­sion 5 and 6 teams, you did very well out of that, you jumped up and got up to Di­vi­sion 3 where you played in a di­vi­sion 3 quar­ter-fi­nal.

‘What that means this year is that our ‘A’ team will be pooled with Di­vi­sion 3 and 4 teams, so by win­ning that you can po­ten­tially jump up to Di­vi­sion 2 and if we do very well you can jump up to Di­vi­sion 1 where you would be play­ing the sec­ond teams from the likes of Kilkenny and Wex­ford. And, I think it‘s safe to say, any team that is com­ing out of Kilkenny or Wex­ford would more than com­pete at the Tier 1 com­pe­ti­tion in Le­in­ster. So, it’s a mas­sive grade and that’s where we want to aspire to.

‘Di­vi­sion 3 is the goal for our ‘A’ team, and we want no less than Di­vi­sion 3. Even though we have a ‘B’ team and we’re op­er­at­ing in Di­vi­sion 5, we’re not happy in Di­vi­sion 5. We’re not en­ter­ing a sec­ond team just for the sake of it. We’re en­ter­ing a ‘B’ team in the hope that we get to Di­vi­sion 4. If it’s a thing that we don’t get the buy-in for a sec­ond team, or that the S&C is not used or what­ever, we’re not en­ter­ing a ‘B’ team. We’re not drag­ging lads in and try­ing to scrape a team to­gether. It will be cut. The fund­ing will go to the ‘A’ team, the same money will be used for one team rather than two,’ he added.

Cur­rent Wick­low Se­nior player Ro­nan Keddy wished the lads all the best of luck for the sea­son ahead and he told them that he had never en­joyed such pro­fes- sion­al­ism dur­ing his time as a young hurler.

Jonathan Tal­lon’s back­room team con­sists of an East team: Philip Cam­pion, Eoin Doyle, Gra­ham Bushe and Michael O’Lough­lin. A West man­age­ment team of Tal­lon, JJ Phe­lan, Ge­of­frey Ber­ming­ham and Michael Man­gan. Ath­letic Evo­lu­tion (Shay Dunne and Gary Jame­son) are the S&C coaches, John Coyle is in­volved in the med­i­cal side and Cormac Noone has signed all the play­ers up to the Smartabase app to mon­i­tor them ahead of their train­ing ses­sions.

‘The sup­port is there for ye,’ said Jonathan Tal­lon to the gath­ered play­ers and par­ents. ‘Ev­ery­one is back­ing ye, all we need now is the play­ers. So, as much as ye are will­ing to push on ye have our sup­port 110 per cent,’ he added.

There were also pre­sen­ta­tions from Shay Dunne on the S&C side of things and Cormac Noone de­scribed how his Smartabase app works.

All that re­mains now is for the hurlers to re­alise their po­ten­tial.

Eimear McCole, Jonathan Tal­lon, Owen Doyle, Adam Win­ters, Cormac Noone and Gra­ham Bushe.

Dar­ragh and Ken Red­mond from Carnew Em­mets.

Mick O’Brien, Colin Dor­gan, Knotty O’Brien and Bill O’Brien.

Derek Byrne and Michael Mo­ran at Lyn­ham’s.

This sea­son’s Wick­low un­der-16 hurlers with Ro­nan Keddy and Billy Cud­dihy.

Eoin Byrne, Bran­don Ryan and Ciaran Har­mon.

Mag and Pe­ter Twoomey.

Owen Byrne and Billy Cud­dihy hav­ing the craic!

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