Fix­tures in a healthy state

Wil­son un­veils statis­tics

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE at Aughrim

WICK­LOW’S fix­tures sec­re­tary Paul Wil­son was in ebul­lient form at the re­cent County Board meet­ing in Aughrim when he un­veiled statis­tics to re­sound­ingly counter claims that there is no flex­i­bil­ity for clubs wish­ing to change fix­ture dates of games.

A to­tal of 13 per cent of all foot­ball fix­tures this year to date have been changed from their orig­i­nal date ac­cord­ing to the Hol­ly­wood GAA Club man who also re­vealed that a stag­ger­ing 96 per cent of all foot­ball games have been com­pleted within the county so far this sea­son.

Paul Wil­son wel­comed the healthy crowd to the county build­ings for the meet­ing and be­gan by stat­ing that he was go­ing to pro­vide some fac­tual in­for­ma­tion about how the county has per­formed in terms of fix­tures for the year to date.

‘It’s great to see a de­cent num­ber here. What we wanted to do was a re­view of the year to see where we are and to give peo­ple feed­back on how things have gone so far – fac­tual in­for­ma­tion,’ be­gan Paul Wil­son.

‘The first thing that we were bound to do was to look at the ac­tual fix­tures fo­rum and the out­comes and what we were meant to do. The first thing was to get rid of the cup com­pe­ti­tions – we did that. Dou­ble round of league in Divi­sion 1 and 1A – that’s de­liv­ered. Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and re­sponses from the CCC – I hope that no­body has had any prob­lems con­tact­ing, I think I’m fairly on the ball. Any phone calls, I ring back as soon as I can, any emails, I get back to as soon as I can, so I con­sider that taken care of, but I stand to be corrected on it.

‘Flex­i­bil­ity in chang­ing games dur­ing the year – some peo­ple would say that there is no flex­i­bil­ity, the statis­tics say some­thing very dif­fer­ent. The flex­i­bil­ity that isn’t there is that you can’t go past your sched­uled date, that is not al­lowed. But there is to­tal flex­i­bil­ity be­fore your sched­uled date.

‘Now, at the begin­ning of the year I made this very clear to ev­ery­one and not many peo­ple fully grasped the con­se­quences of that. But that is the case and you will see it from the facts in a few min­utes.

‘Cham­pi­onship semi-fi­nals and fi­nals to be played at the week­end. At this point in time all cham­pi­onship semi-fi­nals and fi­nals are fixed for week­end dates, which I’m de­lighted to say. Now, that’s pro­vided that all hell doesn’t break loose and we get the fi­nals of All-Ire­lands and what­ever else, but at this point in time that is the case.

‘Two rounds of hurl­ing – ob­vi­ously that didn’t hap­pen on the league side of things. And Divi­sion4 to start ear­lier – we couldn’t start any ear­lier be­cause we are re­stricted with light. The ear­li­est we could start was May 18, any­thing be­fore that we just can’t play the games.

‘Key facts on the foot­ball, and there are some very in­ter­est­ing ones: Games that were sched­uled to be played, 45 were sched­uled, 44 have been played in Divi­sion1, 98 per cent. If you go down the bot­tom, rather than go through all the dif­fer­ent ones, the only one that we’ve had prob­lems with is Divi­sion 5 where the teams are strug­gling.

‘We’ve had 249 games so far that have been sched­uled to be played in foot­ball, 239 have played. That’s 96 per cent com­ple­tion rate which is pretty spec­tac­u­lar.

‘On the third one in there, on fix­tures changed, 31 fix­tures have ac­tu­ally been changed, so 13 per cent of the fix­tures have been moved be­cause it was within the cri­te­ria that was set out. There was no is­sue. So, peo­ple say that there is no flex­i­bil­ity, that hasn’t been borne through.

‘Ed­die (Leonard) has gone out of his way to ar­range ref­er­ees for these games, but I can say that we are walk­ing a tightrope on the ref­eree side of things, lads. There was one day there we were lit­er­ally; we were short of ref­er­ees and only a game was called off we were in trou­ble.

‘If we look at the hurl­ing then, the hurl­ing wasn’t quite as ef­fec­tive as the foot­ball. We had six walk-overs in the hurl­ing. Again, game changes, we had 11 out of 28 games changed, that’s nearly 40 per­cent, 39 per cent were changed so there was no is­sue there. We had 82 per cent of the to­tal num­ber of games played in the hurl­ing which is way be­low where it should be. You would ex­pect it to be 95 plus. It’s some­thing that’s a work in progress and needs to be im­proved on the hurl­ing side of it,’ he added.

An An­nacurra GAA Club del­e­gate said that from his club’s point of the view the dou­ble round of the games in the Divi­sion 1 and 1A leagues wasn’t a suc­cess as there were too many games.

Paul Wil­son said that the CCC needed to sit down with clubs and work out what’s best for ev­ery­one later in the year.

He also hinted at dras­tic changes to the club scene if a ‘B’ All-Ire­land cham­pi­onship is in­tro­duced at na­tional level.

‘It could be a com­pletely dif­feent sce­nario next year depend­ing on what comes out of the ‘B’ cham­pi­onship de­bate.

Bless­ing­ton’s Michael Sar­gent high­lighted lo­gis­ti­cal dif­fi­cul­ties for teams in Divi­sion 4 on a thurs­day night with Bless­ing­ton, Avon­dale, AGB and Carnew in one group which re­quired Bless­ing­ton to make the long jour­ney to Avon­dale or Carnew and vice versa.

Paul Wil­son said that he had tried to bal­ance out the league to the best of his abil­ity while giv­ing due con­sid­er­a­tion to jour­ney times and ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tions but he agreeed that it was an is­sue and that was not ideal.

Paul Wil­son also sug­gested that there used to be Divi­sion 1 league games on a Tuesday night that went off rel­a­tively has­sle free.

Michael Sar­gent re­torted that a Divi­sion 4 team were a very dif­fer­ent anil­mal to a divi­sion 1 team and that he might have 13 Leav­ing Cert stu­dents on the team and none of them might own a car whereas a Divi­sion 1 team would pos­sess more drive.

‘The only thing I would say on our signs of things is that there was plenty of no­tice given with the fix­tures at the begin­ning of the year so that there was plenty of chances for things to be planned out as best you can, and I know that Divi­sion 4 by its very natue is last­minute. com,’ said Paul Wil­son.

Mick Ha­gan said that the CCC in­tend to call one or per­haps two fix­tures meet­ings with the clubs to dis­cuss how the year has gone so as to im­prove things for the fol­low­ing year.

‘Look, ev­ery­thing hasn’t been per­fect, but I think that we have moved a step for­ward and we need to keep mov­ing for­ward, that’s the im­por­tant thing here. Cer­tainty of fix­tures? We’ve got that. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion? I woul think that we’ve got that. They are two big things to have done.

‘I think the ac­tual mind­set, peo­ple didn’t re­alise the con­se­quence of not look­ing at the fix­tures ear­lier in the year and maybe chan ging fix­tures around and book­ing their days off. I think next year, peo­ple will have a much bett­ter un­der­stand­ing of look­ing at the fix­tures and mak­ing those changes early on be­fore they are set in stone.

An­other del­e­gate com­plained that the fix­ing of games for 4 and 5pm on a Satur­day af­ter­noon was prob­lem­atic for lads who are work­ing.

Paul Wil­son said as the evenings leg­n­thened times had been changed to re­flect that but he also said that the feed­back from clubs was that they didn’t want games at 7pm and 8pm on a Satur­day even­ing.

Sea­mus Kelly from Balt­in­glass GAA club said that the CCC had to be com­pli­mented for their work on the fix­tures.

‘The CCC have to be com­pli­mented on your progress,’ he be­gan. ‘What has come up on screen there tonight brings a new di­men­sion and you have to be com­pli­mented on that,’ he added.

The venues for cham­pi­onship games have yet to be an­nounced. Paul Wil­son ex­plained that they will be un­veiled very soon.

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