‘The mobility in his hip was the same as a 70-year-old person’

In today’s Sunday Independent, Dermot Crowe picks through the issues that resulted in the removal of the Wexford Minor Hurling manager, Eddie ‘Heffo’ Walsh.  There has been a lot of heat in the aftermath and it has consumed many column inches and hours of radio air 10time.  Of course we’d all prefer Wexford to be in the headlines for other reasons and it’s unfortunate that it has come to this but Crowe’s concluding remark in his piece sum up why the Chairmen felt they had to act.

“Once this controversy subsides, Wexford will realise it has struck a blow for common sense, from which the county can only benefit in the long run.”

Players with the hips of 70 year olds, parents and teachers up in arms, players education suffering – this is the reality of the phrase ‘player welfare.’  As County Chairman Diarmuid Deveraux says about burnout;

‘I think people think this is a joke, that it is being made up by the doctors’

Players want to play and have to be protected from themselves at times and its with this in mind that the Wexford Board have introduced restrictions and expect team manager to cooperate and maximise the return in an intelligent, scientific way. Sports science has moved and Wexford have to recognise and embrace this.

Its been said that the minor manager was not given access to the players but Bobby Geoff, Chairman of Coiste na nÓg explains the what was agreed:

“[The manager was give] access to the schools players three times in December, on Friday, December 6 for a team meeting to lay out plans for the year, another on Sunday, December 8, for a training session to check fitness, and again on Friday 20th; he didn’t go into detail on that one.”

The problem emerged with the manager ‘changed the goalposts’ when he organised additional training sessions, Geoff says the manager was:

“expecting those [players] to train two times with colleges and twice with the county minors and there was a big player welfare issue.”

Things were coming to a head, Geoff outlined to Crowe how the situation became untenable:

On Tuesday, December 10, the minor hurlers had an intensive 90-minute physical workout the day before the combined schools were due to train. The following Friday the minors were to train again in spite of the schools having a challenge match the day after. As he had not paid heed to county board instructions, Walsh was removed from the position by the juvenile board.

Wexford are inviting Clubs to submit suitable candidates for position of Wexford GAA Minor hurling manager. Names should be submitted by 1pm, Friday 3rd January 2014 by email to: Coiste na nOg Secretary, Angela McCormack @ [email protected]

Read the full piece from the Sunday Independent now: