Wexford GAA County Board
Meeting 29/05/2018, Riverside Park Hotel, Wexford
Minutes – matters arisingThe management committee was congratulated on securing the 2019 GAA Congress for Wexford and it was recognised that this will represent a significant economic boost for the town of Wexford and the wider county. Approximately 600 – 800 visitors will attend on 22-23 February 2019 and while Congress will be held in Clayton Whites Hotel all the hotels in the town, and beyond, will benefit.
Also welcomed was the 4% increase in sales of Model County tickets as this is a key element of the overall funding model for the county.
The Chairman reflected on the championship fixtures that had been held during the “club month” of April and said that it was a credit to all concerned that 3 rounds were played, given the extent of the weather challenges encountered. He also pointed out that Wexford was one of only 5 counties to hold at least 3 rounds in the month of April.
In response to a question from the floor regarding correspondence from Croke Park concerning potential breaches of the “training camp” rule, it was confirmed that the county board had replied to Croke Park.
New Ross District has requested that end-dates be set for all local district championships and it was agreed that the 2nd week in September should be the target by which football and hurling competitions should be concluded.
The CCCC has written to seek ratification for the holding of a final only in Division 6A of the ACFL (that is, no semi-finals) and this was approved by the county board. CCCC has also proposed that league semi-finals should be held, on the basis of a coin toss, at one of the competing teams’ home venues, unless the distance between the teams is deemed too far (at discretion of CCCC). After discussion, the Board amended the proposal slightly so that ALL semi-finals will be held in a competing club’s home pitch, on the basis of a coin toss, regardless of distances.
Oulart-The Ballagh raised the issue of it, and a number of other clubs, having been deducted points by the CCCC for breach of the “first 15” rule. The Chairman expressed the view that this rule had been somewhat lost in translation over the last three/four years.
The County Board is of the understanding that the rule is that the first 15s must come from players who played on a club’s adult championship first team the previous year; any additional players who played on the club’s first adult championship team can play on the club’s second league team, and so on. All the delegates present agreed with the rule as set out and the Chairman said that he would respond to the CCCC with the views of the Board and would ask the CCCC to review the proposed deduction of points.
St. Martin’s wrote to the Board to explain the circumstances in which it has been unable to field a team in the first two fixtures of Division 1 of the ACFL and has therefore been ejected from the competition, under rule, by the CCCC. The letter explained that, due to 10 players being involved with county teams, 6 sitting the Leaving Cert and 4 others doing college exams, it had only 7 players from its first team squad of 27 available to fulfil fixtures. It was keen to explain the circumstances to the Board and to ask that the fixtures situation be examined to see whether the situation could be avoided in 2019 as it wished to fulfil all fixtures. It was also noted that the club’s senior hurling team would find itself in a similar situation as it was unable to field a team in rounds 2 and 3 of the ACHL.
The Chairman noted that St. Martin’s was not the first club to find itself in this position over the years and he proposed that a forum be held in each of the districts, to be attended byofficers and players from all clubs, to see what could be done to alleviate this situation in 2019. He also noted that both senior managers had released players not in the match day 26 back to their clubs. Bunclody asked why Under 21 hurlers were not released to their clubs for the most recent round of ACHL fixtures given that there was 3 weeks to the first intercounty U21 match. The Chairman said that this issue would be looked into.
Wexford v Galway game
The crowd expected for the game could be as high as 18,000 as both stands are already sold out, subject to any returns from Galway. The Gardaí have been very helpful in preparing for this game and the importance of adhering to parking rules around the ground was emphasised. Ticket sales from Innovate Wexford Park had taken place earlier in the morning, with people queueing from 7.30am, but the process was managed very smoothly with lessons learned from last year. It was also noted that we had 52 volunteer stewards for the recent game against Dublin game but more are needed.
The Coaching Officer, Bobby Goff, gave a detailed presentation on the 2020 Coaching Plan, the coaching staffing structure, Club Support and targets for Post Primary schools. One of the key ambitions is to have 35% of 5-12 year olds in urban areas playing for a GAA Club by 2020 (the current level is circa 10%). The growth in the number of Games Promotion Officers (GPOs) is central to the coaching plan and it was noted that this growth has been cost neutral, due to increased support from the Hickey Fund (via the Dublin Wexford Supporters’ Club), support from Wexford County Council and from Croke Park. Clubs are encouraged to seriously consider availing of the GPO model, as it can significantly improve the level of coaching in clubs. Another very important future appointment will be that of an Athletic Development Coordinator.
World Family Day
It was recalled that a request from Bishop Brennan for the use of Innovate Wexford Park on June 17 had been previously approved by the Board. This fun day for adults and kids will promote World Family Day and will run from 2.30 – 4.30pm. The Ballindaggin Pipe Band and a range of other acts will provide musical entertainment. Games for kids will include “Hang Tough” bars, penalty shoot-outs etc and current players such as Lee Chin, Daithí Waters, Brian Malone and Mark Fanning will be there on the day.
Friday 8 June has been confirmed as the date for the Wexford GAA Mass in the cathedral in Enniscorthy.
The recent decision to establish a committee to examine how to improve and advance the refereeing situation in the county has proven quite timely as Croke Park has now written to all counties asking them to examine this area. It was also noted that former GAA President Liam O’Neill has agreed to chair a committee to examine the issues facing clubs and the GAA more generally in Wexford Town
The senior footballers’ qualifier match against Waterford will take place in Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday 9 June at 2pm. It was noted that this does not allow a lot of time for supporters to get to Kilkenny for the senior hurlers’ Leinster championship match against Kilkenny at 7pm. It was agreed that the Board should seek to improve the timing situation.
Oulart-The Ballagh raised the issue of providing up to date information to Clubs regarding insurance obligations. St. Joseph’s asked whether drug-testing was being applied to our county teams and whether it would be extended to club teams. It was confirmed that our senior hurlers had been tested at training the previous week; whether clubs would ever come into the testing programme was defined as a known unknown.
Recent media reporting was raised by a number of delegates and such reports were discussed; it was noted that a certain scepticism was sometimes necessary in considering such reports.
History of St. Anne’s Club, Jim Berry
Jim Berry closed the meeting with an overview of the club history that he had recently published and he encouraged other clubs to consider producing their own histories.