Wexford GAA County Board
Meeting 24/10/2017, Talbot Hotel, Wexford
Matters arising from Minutes of previous County Board & Management meetings
The situation regarding a specific player seeking funding under the players’ injury fund was discussed and it was agreed that the Coiste Bainistíochta would meet with the player and his club. It was recognised that it’s important that clubs come up with ideas to help strengthen the refereeing situation in Wexford and it was agreed that any ideas submitted could be anonymised in order to allow for an objective discussion on the merits of any proposals.
Underage playing proposals
At the outset, it was explained that adult structures can only be considered at the November meeting, under bye-laws. Accordingly, only motions dealing with underage games are for decision at this meeting. Mícheál Martin outlined the steps taken by the Fixtures Review Committee to ensure that a wide range of opinions were taken into account in formulating the proposals for decision. Two open forums were held, a Coiste-specific briefing session was attended by 31 clubs and a very successful online questionnaire process elicited more than 250 submissions. A majority of the negative feedback received related to the minor playing programme and it is important to note that the breadth of our underage schedule is only comparable to 3 or 4 other counties at most.
The key proposals emerging from this review are:
- Underage grades changing to under 11, 13, 15, 17 (with a 4-year window for U17)
- Free grading for 18 year olds until championship quarter-finals (will require a derogation from Central Council if passed)
- Enhanced under 20 competitions for 18-20 year olds in order to maximise the prospects of 18 year-olds being played. The football competition is proposed to start in October (on weekends), with hurling starting in July (midweek). It is also proposed that matches will run as per schedule with no postponements, and that a minimum of 6 games will be provided per code per team
In the discussion that followed, a number of clubs suggested that the Under 21 grade be maintained as, otherwise, it might be difficult to field teams and amalgamations could be more common. Other speakers were concerned that this could militate against 18 year-olds getting games and it was suggested instead that a specific number (2 or 3) of named 21 year-olds could be allowed. In any event, it was agreed that this matter would be up for discussion at the next County Board meeting on 14 November.
With regard to the proposed shift to under 11 / 13 / 15 / 17, a number of specific issues were raised about the playing rules to be applied, including the proposed use of the “Féile subs” rule. It was agreed that, if passed, a small group would be convened by Coiste / CCC to finalise the details of specific playing rules. One club asked whether these proposals could be deferred by one year to allow clubs sufficient time to prepare; a number of speakers pointed out that the changes were first mooted 12 months ago and that if this is happening at national level then it’s as well to bring our playing structures into line. Another club asked whether there would be scope for an under 19 tournament and they were advised that this matter would be more properly addressed at the November meeting that will look at adult structures.
The free grading proposal for 18 year-olds has met with considerable approval during the consultation process. It was recognised that policing the rule might present a challenge but it is hoped that it will become self-policing once it’s recognised that the rule aims to encourage player retention and development and that any breaches of the rule will be properly punished.
After considerable discussion, motions (a) and (b) were put to the floor and both were carried decisively with only 3 votes against (a) and just a single vote against (b). The 3rd motion will be up for discussion at the November county board meeting and clubs are asked to examine this in detail before then and to submit any amending motions in good time before that meeting.
Intercounty junior football and intermediate hurling
Wexford will need to decide, at Leinster Council level, whether it wishes to participate in the 2018 junior football and intermediate hurling competitions and the Coiste Bainistíochta are looking for direction from the clubs on this before the next Leinster Council meeting. Many counties have withdrawn from these events with only 6 counties committed to the Leinster junior football (including Cavan) and only 1 team committed to intermediate hurling (in 2017, only Wexford, Kilkenny and Cork participated in this event).
There was a wide-ranging discussion then about the pros and cons of participation and how the competitions in question fitted in with the development strategy for Wexford. A clear consensus emerged among the clubs that Wexford should not enter these competitions in 2018; that was put to a vote of the clubs and was passed unanimously.
The Coiste Bainistíochta’s proposal to appoint Paul McLoughlin as senior football manager was put to the meeting and was ratified.
The process of identifying underage managers is well underway and it was agreed that this process would proceed and would make appointments which would then be brought to the November County Board meeting for ratification.
Update from the Children’s Officer
The commencement, on 11 December 2017 of the Children First Act, will have knock-on impacts for the GAA and there will be a requirement in time for a risk assessment of child safeguarding policy and practice in our clubs. Delegates were asked to ensure that clubs are aware of, and active in, this area.
It was agreed that continued incursion by young people onto the pitch in Wexford Park before matches and at halftimes is a potential health and safety risk and clubs were asked to urge their own members not to allow this. In the longer term, it was agreed that a clear policy direction will need to be taken and that a range of possible actions, including fencing, will need to be examined.