The search be­gins

Com­mit­tee in place to find new Wick­low foot­ball boss

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

WICK­LOW GAA are plan­ning to have a new Se­nior foot­ball man­ager in place by the quar­ter-fi­nal stages of the club cham­pi­onship fol­low­ing the step­ping down of John Evans from the po­si­tion last week.

A new com­mit­tee has been put in place to se­lect the best per­son for the job. The com­mit­tee in­cludes some of those who rec­om­mended John Evans for the role two years ago and work be­gins im­me­di­ately on find­ing the can­di­date who will give Wick­low the best chance of es­cap­ing from Di­vi­sion 4 and giv­ing sup­port­ers some hope of a brighter fu­ture.

‘The com­mit­tee will be: Fin­tan Fan­ning, chair­man, Alan Smullen, sec­re­tary, Dar­ren Hay­den, play­ers rep, Paddy Dal­ton, Ciaran Hy­lan, Con Mur­phy, and Jimmy Whittle,’ re­vealed County Chair­man Martin Fitzger­ald at Mon­day night’s County Board meet­ing.

Rath­new’s Bobby Dig­nam asked when John Evans had de­cided to step down or had he been re­moved from his po­si­tion by the Wick­low County Board.

‘He stepped down. We spoke to him on the phone last Tues­day night and he stepped down,’ replied Martin Fitzger­ald.

‘What’s your plans? You have a com­mit­tee there now. I think for the last five years we’ve had out­side man­agers who have done noth­ing but cost us about €100,000 a year. I’ve been go­ing on for years that we should be look­ing around lo­cally here. And a lo­cal man­ager would have lo­cal se­lec­tors and we might have as good a chance as we’ve had with the pre­vi­ous.

‘I thought when Evans came in, with his CV, I thought it was good, but what turned me off was the Ca­van match, when we turned out in Aughrim with 15 men be­hind the ball. As far as I’m con­cerned, he hadn’t got it.

‘He was also in charge of the un­der-20s and I be­lieve that was a dis­as­ter. He didn’t turn up to some train­ing ses­sions. We should re­ally look at the un­der-20s be­ing sep­a­rated un­less the in­com­ing men who are put there are pre­pared to take it on. I would sug­gest that we should look lo­cal,’ added Dig­nam.

Martin Fitzger­ald said that the com­mit­tee were un­der in­struc­tion that if the ap­pli­ca­tions of the role were not what they de­sired then they were to go seek any can­di­dates they iden­tify as suitable in­di­vid­u­als for the role.

Bobby Dig­nam asked if the County Board were ad­ver­tis­ing the role. Alan Smullen said that there is a ro­bust frame­work for ap­point­ing a new man­ager that comes from Croke Park. He ex­plained that an email would be sent to all clubs for clubs to nom­i­nate any names.

Smullen said that there are peo­ple who have al­ready con­tacted them in re­la­tion to the role and that other can­di­dates can be pur­sued if re­quired.

The county trea­surer then ex­plained the steps of the process of ap­point­ing the man­ager such as in­ter­views to ap­point what Smullen de­scribed as ‘the best pos­si­ble per­son for the job’.

‘The re­port will be sent back to man­age­ment with a pro­posal from that com­mit­tee,’ said Alan Smullen. ‘All clubs will have the chance to nom­i­nate peo­ple. My num­ber is there and Fin­tan’s num­ber is there as well.

‘Ideally we want that per­son in place as early as pos­si­ble. Real­is­ti­cally, if that per­son was in place by the quar­ter-fi­nals that would be fan­tas­tic. It may be tight. I know the next cou­ple of weeks will prob­a­bly go by very quickly when the nom­i­na­tions come int, then it’s about sit­ting down, meet­ing peo­ple and mak­ing sched­ules,’ he said.

Victor O’Shaugh­nessy asked how the com­mit­tee were go­ing to pick a man­ager. He asked if the clubs could be sent out the in­for­ma­tion as to what ques­tions the com­mit­tee would be ask­ing the can­di­dates and what cri­te­ria they would be us­ing to se­lect a man­ager.

Alan Smullen in­formed the Avon­dale del­e­gate that the com­mit­tee would be eval­u­at­ing the can­di­dates on prob­a­bly nine dif­fer­ent ar­eas.

We’ll be look­ing at ex­pe­ri­ence, or­gan­i­sa­tion skills, coach­ing knowl­edge, in­ter­per­sonal skills, lead­er­ship/mo­ti­va­tional skills, play­ing knowl­edge or ex­pe­ri­ence (if it is there), their sup­port per­son­nel – will they be bring­ing in a team with them, have they al­ready got a struc­ture be­hind them or will they be look­ing for nom­i­na­tions from around the county.

‘The re­la­tion­ship with the clubs and the county com­mit­tee, we’ll be look­ing for ev­i­dence of that be­ing in place pre­vi­ously, be­cause I think that’s re­ally, re­ally im­por­tant, and then knowl­edge of the county – I’m not say­ing that’s a pre­req­ui­site, but ob­vi­ously it would help.

‘And then one of the key ones for me: com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, and their abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate with the group of peo­ple that they want to pre­pare to peak at the right pos­si­ble time in the sea­son,’ said Alan Smullen.

Victor O’Shaugh­nessy then asked if clubs could be given a blue­print in terms of how much the hurl­ing and foot­ball man­agers will cost the county.

Alan Smullen said that the costs of man­agers is pub­lished in the ac­counts at the end of the year. He also said that there were lim­its as to what in­for­ma­tion he was per­mit­ted to re­lease about in­di­vid­u­als such as phys­ios or nutri­tion­ists for pro­fes­sional ser­vices but that he would be happy to an­swer any ques­tions at Con­ven­tion at the end of the year.

‘It’s in the ac­counts at Con­ven­tion, what it costs,’ added Martin Fitzger­ald.

‘It’s all in the de­tail, Mr Chair­man, isn’t that what you’re say­ing?’ replied Victor O’Shaugh­nessy.

Jackie Napier said that it was im­pos­si­ble to say what a county team would cost at the start of the year given the vari­ables such as travel and he high­lighted the fact that the Wick­low hurlers had to travel to Derry and Done­gal four times in all, and War­wick­shire in 2019.

Alan Smullen agreed that it was im­pos­si­ble to gauge, and he said that the ques­tion asked by Victor needed to be turned on its head.

‘You know what, Victor, I would love noth­ing more than to spend more money on our foot­ballers and hurlers be­cause that would mean that we would be go­ing fur­ther in the cham­pi­onships. And I guar­an­tee you that there’s not one per­son, maybe not, sit­ting around that if we got to a Le­in­ster semi-fi­nal or fi­nal, would any­one here be ques­tion­ing why we were pay­ing ex­tra for a physio to get the lads right? I don’t think so.

So, in my opin­ion, the ques­tion needs to be turned right around on its head.

‘How many peo­ple in this room are go­ing to buy a ta­ble at Punchestow­n next year, how many peo­ple are go­ing to sup­port the golf clas­sic on the 30th of Au­gust, be­cause, lads, we can talk about foot­ball and hurl­ing all we want, but if we’re not will­ing to in­vest in get­ting ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing we pos­si­bly can, from un­der-13 up to Se­niors, we are go­ing nowhere. And talk­ing about what the cost of a cer­tain team is, ab­so­lutely I take your point, but it’s only one small bit in the over­all thing of get­ting our teams right.

‘It’s in­ter­est­ing that Jackie (Napier) makes the point of away games – that’s noth­ing to do with the man­ager. I’m not ask­ing about that. I’m ask­ing about the man­ager and the se­lec­tors and peo­ple like that,’ added Jackie Napier.

One del­e­gate said that the com­mit­tee would have to put goals in place for the new man­ager.

‘I don’t think it’s good enough any­more to put a man­ager in place and for us to drift through Di­vi­sion 4.

‘We have to have ambition here. With our Mi­nor teams com­ing up and all the youth com­ing up, they’re just go­ing to go to waste if we’re not go­ing to push them for­ward to reach their po­ten­tial. So, I think when you’re pick­ing the man­ager you have to pick some­one with a track record, who knows how to bring the team for­ward, you have to raise funds for the team,’ they said.

Alan Smullen said that they had met with both Eamonn Scallan and John Evans and that the need for progress was ex­pressed to both men.

An­other del­e­gate asked if there was any news on the Mi­nor man­ager. Martin Fitzger­ald said that there was no news on that po­si­tion.

Fitzger­ald also thanked John Evans for his ser­vices and wished him well for the fu­ture.

For­mer Wick­low man­ager John Evans dur­ing his time with the Gar­den County.

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