2017 Wexford GAA County Board Convention
Mon 11th Dec 2017 Ferrycarrig Hotel, Wexford 7:30pm
Reports by Rúnaí, Cisteoir and sub-committees
The reports had been circulated in advance to all clubs and were adopted.
The Cathaoirleach noted that, while good progress was made in 2017 in terms of managing budgets, there is a high degree of variability every year which is directly linked to the fortunes of our teams on the field. While team expenses rose in 2017 it is important to benchmark those costs to comparable dual counties which are significantly higher. As expenses are not likely to decline it is important that Wexford optimises its commercial income as this is an area in which the county has under-performed up to now.
Election of Delegates to Leinster Convention
Micheál Martin, Dermot Howlin and Liam Griffin were elected.
Election of Delegates to Annual Congress
5 delegates were elected.
Election of Officers
There were two candidates for the post of Rúnaí Cúnta, Aoife O’Connor and Joe Sheehan, so a ballot was held. Aoife was successful in the vote.
Presentation on the Hurling 365 programme by Willie Cleary
If Wexford is to be ambitious in hurling, long-term structures need to be put in place to support our ambitions and he is directing a particular focus on hurling in schools in his new fulltime GDA role. The Hurling 365 programme seeks to embed hurling skills education into primary schools, recognising that each of the 30 key hurling skills will take around 450 minutes to master. In the last 3 months, a further 12 primary schools have signed up to Hurling 365 and have committed to skills coaching every day; this brings the current total to 35 schools representing around 20 clubs. This is not a short-term project but needs to be committed to in the long-term if results are to be delivered.
Leinster Convention Delegates: 5 delegates were elected.
Motion 1, from HWH-Bunclody, was lost.
Motion 2, also from HWH-Bunclody, was withdrawn and will be submitted to the January 2018 meeting of County Board.
Motion 3, from St. Martin’s, was carried.
Motion 4, from Adamstown, was carried.
Motion 5, from St. Martin’s, was amended with the word “within” deleted and replaced by “prior to”, and was carried.
Motion 6, from HWH-Bunclody, was carried.
Motion 7, from Rapparees-Starlights, was lost.
Motion 8, from Rapparees-Starlights, was lost.
Motion 9, from St. Mary’s Rosslare, was lost.
Motion 10, from St. Mary’s Rosslare, was carried.
Motion 11, from St. Mary’s Rosslare, was lost.
Presentation by the Commercial Steering Group
The group was established in mid-2017 to look at the commercial structures within Wexford GAA and to identify opportunities to increase commercial income. Its members are Mícheál Mahon (HWH-Bunclody), Anthony Neville (St. John’s / Volunteers), Seán Doyle (Buffers Alley) and Adrian Fenlon (Rapparees-Starlights). The presentation set out key findings from the initial research phase which focused on (a) existing commercial activities by Wexford GAA, (b) best practice elsewhere and (c) alternative sources of revenue. A key recommendation is that the organisational structures overseeing commercial operations need to be revised to achieve streamlining and coordination, avoid inefficient “silo” approaches and optimise the commercial return.
The group’s findings are that Wexford is significantly under-performing in this area and that a new, professional approach can yield significant dividends. This will require additional manpower but with the correct approach and resources the group believes that commercial income can be significantly increased from the current €150,000 per annum to as much as €600,000 per annum over a couple of years. The number of paid-up supporters of Wexford GAA is much lower than in many other counties and both this sector, and the corporate sponsorship sector, should be targeted. Fundraising abroad is entirely underdeveloped so the group is organising an initial fundraising trip to New York in early February. This is the start of a long-term process of building a relationship with potential Wexford sponsors and supporters in the US and it was clearly stated that no County Board money will be needed to underwrite the trip as the steering group members will pay their own way.
The group is proposing that a commercial manager be appointed in the near future to drive this focus on commercial income. It’s envisaged that the remuneration will be part-commission in nature in order to get the best out of the post. It’s essential that the right person is recruited to enable us to unlock the possible multiples of current earnings.
An Cathaoirleach described 2017 as a year of change and improvement on the playing fields and within our coaching and organisational structures, and he paid tribute to the cohesion and commitment of a committed and united Coiste Bainistíochta. Promotions for both senior teams and a Leinster final appearance for our hurlers were particular playing highlights and the hosting of Féile was a credit to the clubs and volunteers throughout the county. The higher profile of our games has fed into record attendances at Cúl Camps and it is very encouraging to see clubs actively engaging with schools to build strong relationships. The new playing calendar will bring far more intercounty matches to Wexford and we will learn from the ticketing challenges that arose in 2017. The 2018 Adult “Club+” ticket which is available for purchase directly from www.gaa.ie is strongly recommended as the best value ticket for the GAA fan as, for €200, it provides:
- Access to all league matches in the cardholder’s chosen code
- Access to the All Ireland club finals in Croke Park on St. Patrick’s Day
- Access to Wexford’s first championship match in the chosen code
- The guaranteed right to purchase tickets (with a €5 discount) for subsequent intercounty championship matches in the chosen code
- Access to all adult club matches (football and hurling) organised by Wexford GAA up to and including county finals
For anyone who follows Wexford teams and has an interest in club matches this represents outstanding value. In addition, €146 from each ticket sold returns to Wexford GAA to be reinvested in our games, teams and structures.
Organisationally, a lot of important work has been initiated including the audit of playing participation in urban areas, the appointment of Anthony Masterson and Willie Cleary as GDAs, the establishment of the commercial steering group, reform of fixtures, and a focus on getting more new referees into our games. Team expenses are not going to decrease in the future with more matches coming on stream so it is imperative that Wexford GAA increases its commercial income. Remaining on the issue of money, it is a concern that so much money is directed to the Gaelic Players’ Association at a time when resources are stretched a club level. The GPA published accounts for 2016 show that €921,000 was spent on salaries for 12 employees with just under €0.5 million of that going to “key management”. It is time to assess whether this is best use of GAA monies.
Finally, the publication of incorrect reports, “fake news”, in the national and local media by a particular journalist is disappointing and the Wexford GAA community deserves better. On a number of occasions, Wexford GAA figures have had to publicly contradict reports and misquoted remarks attributed to them. It is a priority now for the Coiste Bainistíochta to correct such reports and to avoid repeated incidents in the future.