Wexford GAA County Board Meeting 26/06/2019, The Horse and Hound, Ballinaboola
Minutes – matters arising
The minutes of the Bord Chontae on 30 April were considered and a delegate asked whether the idea of reducing the price of the county’s own season ticket, after a certain point in the season, had been considered. He was advised that the proposal was not accepted for 2019 but that it would be re-examined in 2020. The Cisteoir explained that the season tickets were vital sources of income at a time, typically around December, when other income streams are quiet.
Coiste Bainistíochta minutes from 13 May and 17 June were considered. It was confirmed that delegates will have a number of opportunities to input to the development of the county’s Strategic Plan for which the oversight committee has now begun its work. It is anticipated that, in addition to the broader public consultation process that will be undertaken, a draft version of the Plan will be circulated to Clubs for detailed discussion at Bord Chontae and that a number of open nights will also be organised to facilitate stakeholder input.
Access to the GAA corporate box in Croke Park for the Leinster Council was discussed and it was explained that this has been made available to us for the day and that it will primarily be used to accommodate those sponsors that are providing significant funding and support to the county. A delegate suggested that the work done by our stewards should be recognised with a free ticket to the Leinster Final and that Leinster Council should be written to in this regard. The Cathaoirleach said that he very much valued the work done by stewards and said that this was recognised by providing them with an annual access pass to club games, a lunch on stewarding days, an end of year dinner and guaranteed access to purchase tickets for intercounty games. The meeting agreed that this was good recognition of stewards’ efforts.
A question was raised as to what had happened with the clock in additional time at the final Leinster senior hurling group stage game against Kilkenny in Innovate Wexford Park. The Cathaoirleach explained that human error led to the clock not continuing at the end of the regulation 70 minutes and that around 40 seconds had elapsed when it was resumed. It was noted that there is variation among referees as to whether any additional time after the 70 can be shown on the clock and it was agreed that, in future, the clock will stop at 70 minutes as the additional time is ultimately entirely in the hands of the referee.
Six Month Review of Accounts
The accounts for the first six months of the financial year, up to the end of May 2019, were outlined to delegates. Among the highlights are a 20% increase in commercial fundraising and a growth of 50% in Cairde Loch Garman membership. Actual income for the year to date is therefore quite a bit up on the figure budgeted for while expenditure is in line with expectations. At this juncture it appears likely that a surplus will be achieved for the second successive year. The Cathaoirleach noted that both senior managers are committed to sound budgetary management and he said that it is a very positive development to make the key figures transparent and available to delegates instead of having to wait until the annual Convention to scrutinise any figures.
A new manager will be sought now to take over the senior football team after Paul McLoughlin’s resignation and the Cathaoirleach expressed his appreciation, and that of all the delegates, to Paul for all his efforts over the last two years. The Cathaoirleach will chair a search committee to this end and two Club volunteers were sought to join the committee which will also include Anthony Masterson, Noel Holohan, the Leas-Chathaoirleach and the Rúnaí. Liam Curtis (Ballyhogue) and Michael Hennessy-Cullen (Gusserane) were nominated to join the committee. The minor footballers are in the provincial shield final while our Under 20s had an important win against Wicklow and will next play Louth with a place in a Leinster semi-final on offer. Senior and minor hurling teams both have a Leinster Final to look forward to and it is positive news that the minor match can be accommodated in Croke Park on the same day as the senior final, though before the McDonagh Final. The Under 20 hurling campaign will begin with a difficult provincial semi-final away to Offaly.
Cairde Loch Garman Update
The next scheduled event is race day in Wexford Racecourse on Friday 5 July and, at this juncture, the event is fully subscribed and appears likely to be a big success.
The issue of unpresented medals from past successes has previously been discussed and Walsh Cup medals were presented at senior hurlers’ training camp in Portugal at the end of April. However, there are still a number of sets of medals, including junior Leinster football and Leinster hurling Under 21, that have remained unpresented for some years. Delegates were asked for suggestions as to what should be done. Delegates expressed dismay that medals had remained unpresented for so long and the Cathaoirleach agreed with this but said that this Bord Chontae would now sort out the issue. After some discussion it was agreed that the medals should be presented at various championship matches over the coming months. It was also agreed that, from 2020 onwards, a full set of 24 medals should be handed to the winning club’s secretary at league finals and that any additional medal requirements could be managed directly between the club and the medal supplier.
The Cathaoirleach reminded delegates that cups are to be returned by the end of June and that a fine of €500 is payable where cups have not been returned.
Coaching Office and Squads Update
The various underage squads are going well and are competitive. Numbers registered for Cúl Camps are up slightly on 2018 even though the total number of Camps is down by 3. This is due to some GPO-supported clubs hosting their own specific camps in addition to a Cúl Camp. A special camp will be held in August in Innovate Wexford Park for children on the autistic spectrum and 95 children have already been registered for this.
The Coaching Office continues to promote the Games Promotion Officer (GPO) model and the Leas-Chathaoirleach met last week with James Devane of Leinster Council to review the operation of the scheme, two years into its operation. It seems likely that additional funding might be secured to expand the scheme and it is hoped to have 10 GPOs by September, covering more than 25 clubs compared to the current GPO complement of 7. It is also hoped to make a coaching appointment with a specific focus on athletic development and liaison with key secondary schools. Iar-Uachtarán Liam O’Neill has nearly concluded his strategic review of the clubs in Wexford Town and he hopes to have finalised his report by next week which he will then share with the town clubs.
Model County Draw
The numbers participating in this year’s draw show a modest increase on last year’s figures and the organisers were complimented on achieving three successive years of growth in this key fundraiser.
The Rúnaí explained the ticketing situation for the Leinster final, specifically the fact that in recent instances where tickets were made available via Clubs there was limited availability and / or seating capacity. This would not be the case however in Croke Park for the Leinster Final and it was accordingly decided, in the context of sizable growth in membership of Cairde Loch Garman, low levels of uptake in the past by Clubs and the relatively short timeframe to the Leinster Final, not to provide tickets via the clubs. However, this will be reviewed in the event that we qualify for an All Ireland semi-final.
It was noted that Cairde Loch Garman members receive information updates, including a quarterly ezine, via email and that they have been offered access to purchase 4 tickets per membership for the Leinster Final. Membership of Cairde now exceeds 600 people.
A delegate asked whether the €150 fine for walkovers is being consistently applied and the Cathaoirleach said that he would ask the CCC chairman to address this in due course.
A question was raised as to whether there were any proposals to run junior championships in July as most teams would be unaffected by intercountry player availability. The Cathaoirleach explained that a decision had previously been taken to resume lower tier championships in the 3rd week of July regardless of the progress of our county teams. It was noted that District fixtures are not currently displayed on the Wexford GAA website and it was explained that this is a technical issue which is being pursued with our website service provider.
It was agreed to put on the agenda of the next Bord Chontae meeting the idea of a memorial / reflection area for deceased members of CLG Loch Garman.
In response to a question from the floor, it was confirmed that the naming rights contract with Innovate will expire in 2019 and that discussions are taking place at present with interested parties regarding the naming rights for Wexford Park and for the centre of excellence in Ferns as well as the front of jersey sponsorship. While CLG Loch Garman has a positive relationship with its current sponsors it has a fiduciary duty to ensure that best value opportunities are explored in order to maximise the resources that can be applied to the development of our games.
Wexford GAA Management Committee Meeting
held on 8 July 2019 at Innovate Wexford Park
Matter arising from County Board meeting 17 June
The issue of a recent league walkover for which it was suggested that no financial penalty was levied had been raised at the most recent county board meeting, held in the Horse and Hound, Ballinaboola. The Cathaoirleach had undertaken to look into this and it was his assessment that the CCC seemed not to have adhered to its rules in this matter and he had communicated this to the chairman of the CCC.
Wexford Camogie has asked to have a minor intercounty camogie fixture, scheduled for 17 July, as the curtain-raiser prior to the Leinster Under 20 hurling final which will take place on that day at 7.30pm against Kilkenny in Innovate Wexford Park. It was agreed that it would be difficult to facilitate this given the challenge that stewarding a large double-header midweek would present to our volunteer stewards but that, ultimately, this is a matter for Leinster GAA.
Adamstown GAA Club has written to the Rúnaí to advise that Uachtarán CLG, John Horan, will be in attendance at their official pitch opening on Saturday 13 July at 4pm. Coiste Bainistíochta members are encouraged to attend if available.
It was agreed that the grant aid for the new PA system in Wexford, which has been very positively received, should be drawn down now and that the €200,000 grant for the completion of the Centre of Excellence works should also be drawn down as a priority. The presentation of the 6-month accounts at the recent meeting of the County Board had been hindered by technical problems so it was agreed that a clear summary of those accounts should be emailed to the clubs in the coming days.
The negative impact on gate receipts arising from the strong growth in season tickets has previously been discussed and the Finance Committee had proposed that specific provision be made for this in 2020 to compensate clubs for the loss of gate income. It is agreed that a flat gate fee of €100 will be paid to host clubs, or the standard 10% of the overall gate receipts if bigger, and that an additional €150 will be paid where floodlights are used for a match, or €250 where lights are used for a double-header.
It was agreed that an allocation of tickets will be made available to those clubs that request them for the All Ireland hurling semi-final given that, compared to the Leinster Final, there is more time to process such requests and there will be a higher overall demand. The Rúnaí hopes to receive key information on allocations from Croke Park by the middle of the week and will then be in a position to advise Clubs, and Cairde Loch Garman members, of the likely availability. It was noted that only one-third of clubs had sought allocations for previous matches and also that our own regularly-attending stewards would be entitled to purchase two tickets for the semi-finals.
Leinster Final follow-up
The logistical support provided to our teams by our official transport partner, Wexford Bus, and by Iarnród Éireann for the rail travel by the senior team was highly commended. The stationmaster in Wexford railway station, Dave Murphy, was particularly thanked. Also thanked for all his support over the years was Graham Rowley of An Garda Síochána and he is wished well on his new posting to New Ross. It was noted that Wexford GAA had made a presentation to him at a recent event.
The homecoming event in Innovate Wexford Park was a big success; the assistance of all on the management team with stewarding and other aspects had greatly facilitated the event which had been organised at short notice. Due credit was given to C&R Print which had produced 7,000 posters for distribution at the event free of charge. It was also noted that, while there was space in the carpark for busses of all the teams honoured at the event, both the minor hurlers and the ladies’ footballers had chosen not to park in the ground but to disembark outside and walk in.
A policy on the display of the Leinster Senior Hurling Cup has been drafted and will be circulated to clubs in the coming days. Priority will be given in the coming weeks to displaying the Cup at Cúl Camps and, from September, at schools and it should be accompanied at all times by staff / management. Our key sponsors will also be facilitated while other sponsors’ requests will be considered after our involvement with the All Ireland series is finished. All requests for access to the Cup should come in writing via email to the Rúnaí and the Cup is not to be taken onto a licence premises, other than a Club facility or a hotel. It was noted that no members of the senior squad will be available to travel with the Cup until their involvement with the All Ireland series is concluded.
Notification of Intermediate A and other fixtures has been circulated to clubs following the decision taken at County Board in February that a round of fixtures from that grade down would take place on the weekend of 21 July even if we have a senior team still in contention. It was also noted that a round of minor hurling is taking place this evening and that another round will take place next week.
An information meeting for clubs regarding the Games Promotion Officer (GPO) model was held last Tuesday 2 July in the Riverside Park and was very well attended by both those clubs who already have a GPO and those who are interested in engaging with the scheme.
Interviews will be held on Wednesday 10 July for the post of interim Games Development Manager, a post that is currently fulfilled on an acting basis by Denis Doyle who will finish up in September. The post will be filled by confined competition among Leinster GAA coaching staff and it is anticipated that there will be an appointment by the end of next week. It is also hoped to advertise soon for a Games Development Administrator, with a specific focus on performance development, and that the panel created will provide a pool from which new GPO appointments may be made. It is hoped to have 10 GPOs in place by September, up from 7 at the moment, covering between 26-30 clubs
Recent positive national media coverage about aspects of progressive off-field work by management and volunteers was noted and also remarked upon was the recent excellent coverage of our All County Leagues by the Wexford People. It was agreed that an article on Hurling 365 and wider coaching initiatives within the county might be included in the programme for the Under 20 Leinster hurling final on 17 July. It was also agreed that the programme should mark the recent untimely passing of Mick Harpur RIP, a true friend of Wexford GAA.
The Cúl Camp for children on the autistic spectrum which will take place in Innovate Wexford Park has been very well subscribed with over 115 registered participants and coaching staff are undergoing training on designing suitable activities / drills.
It was noted that the improvement works on the playing surface in St. Patrick’s Park, Enniscorthy, has gone well and that it is critical that the workload on the pitch is managed well. In this context, it was agreed that all team warm ups must take place in the adjoining Showgrounds, with only shooting practice to take place in St. Patrick’s Park.
Finally, looking at the performance of our county teams, it was recognised that having our minor, under 20 and senior teams at All Ireland semi-final stage is an excellent achievement. Recent good performances by our minor footballers were noted and good wishes are extended to the Under 20 footballers who will play Dublin in Parnell Park on Tuesday 9 July in the Leinster semi-final.