January and February management and county board meetings

FULL ACCOUNT OF WEXFORD GAA JANUARY & FEBRUARY COUNTY BOARD & MANAGEMENT MEETINGS

Wexford GAA Management Committee

Meeting held on 27 January 2020 at Chadwicks Wexford Park

Information Bulletin

Loan Application: Ballygarrett Réalt na Mara

The delegation from the club explained that the club had previously received borrowing approval for €75,000 but is now seeking an increased loan amount of €100,000 from Croke Park to go towards their planned infrastructural upgrades (all-weather training pitch, walking track, lighting upgrade). The club’s own savings and other sources of funding (sports capital grant, Leinster Council) were discussed and it was agreed to approve the borrowing request and to recommend its approval by County Board on 28 January.

Loan Application: Ballyhogue

The club has an opportunity to purchase 3.5 acres adjacent to the neighbouring school at a cost of €110,000. If acquired, the additional land would allow much safer access to the club grounds by school children, a better traffic management system for the club and future potential development opportunities. The club is seeking to borrow just under €100,000 from Croke Park and it was agreed to approve the borrowing request and to recommend its approval by County Board.

Medals update

A thorough examination of the medals current held in Chadwicks Wexford Park has shown that there are in excess of 20 sets of medals in storage in addition to a number of individual intercounty medals, covering both adult and underage. It was agreed that club medal sets will be presented to the relevant clubs at a County Board meeting and that individual county medals will be posted out.

Deviation request

On foot of the decision taken at County Board in November 2019 to seek an expansion of the deviation from rule that allows an 18 year-old player free grading until championship quarter-final stage Tony Dempsey had spoken to the proposal at Central Council. However, the Rules Advisory Committee intervened to block a broadening of the deviation so, for the moment, no deviation exists. A possibility to have Central Council put a motion to Congress to remove age group rules from the Treoir Oifigiúil and allow Central Council to set policy in this area is being pursued. If successful, there could still be scope to return to the free-graded 18 year-old model.

On the related matter of the applicable underage categories, it was noted that 22 counties are playing minor at under 17 with the remainder playing it at under 18. It is hoped to achieve clarity on this at Congress but, before then, Wexford clubs will decide at the February meeting of County Board as to the clubs’ preference. Club and Coiste cathaoirligh will be invited to this important meeting.

Correspondence

Davidstown-Counrtnacuddy has sought an update on a hearings matter and it seems that, due to changes in personnel, there has been a delay in the Leinster hearings committee convening to consider the matter.

Monageer-Boolavogue has written regarding the prizes on offer in the Model County draw, in particular that consideration be given to cash prize alternatives for any voucher prizes. The matter will be referred to the Model County committee for consideration.

Hores Stores has written to the County Board to express its appreciation of the recent launch event for the retail partnership arrangement with Wexford GAA.

Security proposal

A security service provider has made an offer of security services to Wexford GAA in return for a sponsorship package. It was agreed that how other counties manage match-day security should be examined to see how best to achieve value. It was also noted that it is challenging to attract sufficient volunteer stewards from our clubs who can focus on security, not the action on the field.

Coaching office

It was noted that Geraldine O’Hanrahans have ended their GPO arrangement for the time being. It is hoped that further GPOs will be appointed in the Spring, subject to approval from Leinster Council.

Other business

It was noted that the authority to process intercounty transfers in the absence of the Rúnaí, which had previously rested with Maire O’Connor, would now be assigned to Marion Doyle.

Ferns St. Aidan’s redevelopment opening event will take place on 9 February with a challenge hurling match between Wexford and Waterford as the centrepiece, throw in at 1230. It was agreed to make a contribution of €500 towards the costs of food for the two teams.

Attempts are ongoing to engage with Halo Tiles to regarding the outstanding credit note owing to Wexford GAA and it was agreed that this should be resolved as soon as possible.

A layout and orientation has been agreed for a fifth pitch at the Centre of Excellence and it is intended to have this work done this year to ensure the pitch is ready for Féile in 2021. A decision also needs to be taken regarding the condition of the playing surface in Chadwicks Wexford Park; it may be time to tackle the issue head on and completely dig up the pitch this summer for a full subsurface installation and pitch re-lay. If this decision is taken, June would be the earliest date for pitch closure and it would not be available again for the remainder of 2020.

It was agreed that Scór county winners who qualify for the All Ireland Final could receive Wexford GAA tops with the support of the County Board. Ballygarret Scór na nÓg set dancers have qualified for the forthcoming All Ireland finals in Killarney and they will be advised of this.

A recent report in the local paper suggesting that some delegates at the 2019 Convention were dissatisfied with the discussion of accounts at that meeting was discussed and it was agreed that this did not reflect the actual discussions at Convention. It was agreed that this issue would be raised with delegates at County Board to confirm whether all clubs were indeed satisfied with how the accounts were discussed.

It was agreed that child safeguarding will be included on the County Board agenda in March given the important attaching to ensuring that all arms of the association are properly complying with their obligations in this area.

Lastly, congratulations were offered to the Cathaoirleach on his recent election as Leas-Chathaoirleach of Leinster Council.

 

Wexford GAA County Board

Meeting 28 January 2020, Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy

Information Bulletin

Minutes – matters arising

The minutes of the management meetings of 26 November and 13 January and of the Bord Chontae of 26 November were approved.

Correspondence

Davidstown-Courtnacuddy has sought an update on a hearings matter which has been delayed due to changes in Leinster Council personnel.

Monageer-Boolavogue has written regarding the prizes on offer in the Model County draw and the matter will be referred to the Model County committee for consideration.

Club loan application

Ballyhogue has sought permission to seek a sub-€100,000 loan from Croke Park to fund the purchase of an adjacent 3.5 acre site. This was discussed and approved by County Board.

Ballygarrett Réalt na Mara is seeking a loan of €100,000 from Croke Park to be put towards the installation of an artificial playing area, a walking track and refurbishment of their floodlighting refurb. This was approved by County Board.

Rapparees-Starlights has sought permission to enter into a commercial agreement with a telecoms provider for the installation of a mast on their grounds. This was approved by County Board.

Committees

The proposed memberships of a series of committees were proposed to and approved by the County Board.

Proposals for Leagues and Under 20 competitions

A clear message has been received from clubs against the playing of Under 20 matches in November and December and the working group tasked with making these calendar proposals has been guided by this. Wexford has a motion for discussion at Congress to remove the semi-final stage of the All Ireland intercounty Under 20 competitions and this, if passed, would make free up to 3 additional weeks in which county competitions could be run.

Divisions of 8 are proposed in a knockout completion with the 4 winners proceeding to the semi-finals and the 4 losing teams going to a shield semi-final so every club would be guaranteed a minimum of 2 games. These competitions could start by late July and then run on a midweek basis in parallel with the adult championships in order to conclude in the first week of September.

Concerns were raised that this would mean the loss of a competition to the Districts and that the working group had not met with the District officers to discuss the proposal. After further detailed discussion, the proposal was put to the floor and was approved by a large majority.

As for the Leagues, it was considered that fairly radical change was needed as the current league structure is stop-start and is not sufficiently competitive. Two proposals are for discussion, one from the working group and the other from the CCC.

PROPOSAL 1 (from the working group)

Each division would have 8 teams divided into two groups of 4, so each team would play 3 matches with the top 2 teams in each group proceeding to semi-finals and the bottom 2 teams in the groups taking part in relegation semi-finals. Each year, 2 teams would be promoted and 2 relegated from each division. It is proposed that no league matches would take place until after the April championship month and that February-March would open to the Districts and clubs to arrange whatever pre-championship games they wish, including participation in the Leinster cross-county leagues. This proposal would provide fixture certainty, promotion / relegation and the leagues would all be concluded before the resumption of championships in August.

The working group wished to implement this proposal in 2020 but several delegates spoke against this saying that plans were already made and that 2021 should be earliest start date for a revised competition.

 

PROPOSAL 2 (from CCC)

This proposal is modelled on the 2018 system, but with meaningful promotion / relegation. Each division would have two groups of 6 divided on a north-south basis, providing every team with 5 guaranteed matches. The top teams in each group would meet in the final and both would be promoted, while the bottom teams would be relegated. The competition would commence in early March.

Some delegates preferred to structure this competition on the basis of playing opponents from the opposite championship group rather than on a north-south split basis.

The matter was put to the floor and proposal no. 1 was passed with effect from 2021.

Infrastructure

A fifth pitch is to be constructed at the Centre of Excellence and planning permission will be sought for the building a small stand. With regard to Chadwicks Wexford Park, a consensus seems to be emerging that the poor state of the pitch needs to be seriously addressed. A proposal in this regard will be table at the February meeting.

Manager ratifications

The following were ratified as minor football management: David Murphy (bainisteoir), Alan Molloy, Lee Devereux and Joey Wadding (selectors).

Under 20 hurling management is James Shiel (Bainisteoir), Liam Roche and David Redmond (selectors) and Michael Dwyer as team administrator.

Coaching update

While additional funding has been secured from Leinster Council and Wexford County Council to support the recruitment of GPOs but an audit review of Leinster Council staffing arrangements has led to a pause on new recruitment embargo but it is hoped that there will be progress in this regard in the next 6-8weeks.

2020 Year Book

Ronan Fagan has been asked to edit a 2020 Yearbook, the first such publication in the county since 2006. LGFA and Camogie will be invited to come on board with this project and input will also be sought from every club.

Deviation Request

A decision was taken at County Board in November 2019 to seek an expanded rules deviation to allow 18 and 19 year old players to have free grading until championship quarter-final stage. However, this proposal was referred to and refused by the Rules Advisory Committee so, for the moment, no deviation exists for 2020. In the meantime, three other counties have sought similar deviations as has been in place in Wexford for the past two years. Central Council may now put a motion to Congress to that would allow more flexibility in terms of age-grade rules-setting in county bye-laws. This would need to get the support of other counties.

Congress will also discuss the setting of age grades nationally and the February meeting of County Board will discuss this and decide on how Wexford should argue at Congress. Club and Coiste na nÓg chairpersons will be asked to attend this key meeting.

 Accounts

A recent local newspaper article had been brought to the attention of the Cathaoirleach. The article claimed that club delegates were not happy with the level of information forthcoming at monthly meetings and in addition that sufficient time was not allowed at the recent County Convention to discuss accounts.

Delegates unanimously confirmed they were happy to affirm their support for how the accounts were handled at Convention and it was pointed out that there had been a lengthy discussion on expenditure. Delegates also affirmed their satisfaction with the manner of monthly meetings during which there is ample opportunity to ask questions.

The Cathaoirleach committed to addressing the issue in the coming weeks as it was felt that the article cast aspersions on the club delegates and on the county board. 

Other business

Healthy Club officer training takes place on 10 March at 7.30pm in the Riverside Park Hotel in Enniscorthy.

Gary Laffan (Glynn-Barntown) congratulated the Cathaoirleach on his recent election as Leas-Chathaoirleach of Leinster Council.

St. Joseph’s asked whether they could be exempted from the requirement to sell 80 Model County tickets as they have consistently found it difficult to meet this levy from sales within their community and instead have had to subsidise this requirement in recent years. The Cathaoirleach asked the club to put its case in writing and said that he would review the request with his Management team and revert back

A delegate asked for clarification regarding use of WhatsApp; it was agreed that the Rúnaí will write to clubs next week to clarify the situation. Two club facility opening events take place in the coming days. Tara Rocks event takes place on Sunday evening, 3 February, and Ferns’ event (which will feature a senior hurling challenge match between Wexford and Waterford) will happen on 9 February.

Wexford GAA Management Committee

Meeting 10 February 2020, Chadwicks Wexford Park

Information Bulletin

Matters arising from previous meetings

The two new members of management were welcomed to the meeting, namely Tony Dempsey (Cathaoirleach’s nominee) and the new Coiste na nÓg secretary, John Kenny. It was noted that a formal picture of the management team will be taken at the next meeting.

Presidential candidate presentations

  • Jarlath Burns

 

Jarlath Burns was welcomed to the meeting to present his case for support as Uachtarán CLG. He explained that Wexford is the 27th county he has visited to this end and he outlined his playing and administrative career within the GAA at club and county level in Armagh, and at provincial and national level.

He outlined his views on managing the balance between club and county, the role of the GPA, communications and long-term strategic planning within the GAA. There was then a wide-ranging discussion on a range of issues prompted by questions that had been agreed beforehand by the management committee.

  • Michael Rock

 

Michael Rock outlined his background in the GAA in Roscommon and at provincial and national level.

He emphasised the need to focus on the welfare of our clubs as they face challenges well beyond fixture difficulties and he discussed the particular skills needed of the Uachtarán. Then the same series of questions was put to them and this provided the framework for an extensive discussion on a wide range of issues.

It was noted that Jim Bolger is due to attend Coiste Bainistíochta on Monday 24 February and possible dates will be offered to the other two candidates, Larry McCarty and Jerry O’Sullivan.

Finance Issues

  • Loan Approval request: Monageer-Boolavogue

 

The club has been awarded €46,000 from the Sports Capital Grant scheme and is now looking approval to borrow €25,000, effectively as a bridging loan to allow them to fund their improvement works before drawing down the grant funding. This was approved by Coiste Bainistíochta.

The Cathaoirleach noted that the club has run fundraisers at the greyhound track in Enniscorthy and he emphasised that the maintenance of this facility was economically and socially important for the wider community.

  • Coffee Express proposal

 

The mobile coffee company, Coffee Express, has been operating in St. Patrick’s Park and the Centre of Excellence and wishes to formalise this agreement for the longer term. It was agreed to do so on the basis of the company making an annual payment of €2,000 to Wexford GAA and also paying for an advertising sign in Chadwicks Wexford Park.

  • Model County Draw

 

A club has written regarding the difficulties it has selling its mandatory allocation of model county tickets. The matter was discussed and it was agreed that there would be no changes to the current scheme as the annual funding contribution from club sales of these tickets is a vital part of overall Wexford GAA funding.

Féile na nGael 2021

Further to the decision to have Wexford and Waterford as co-hosts of Féile na nGael in 2021, it was agreed that Marguerite Furlong, current Coiste na nÓg chair, be proposed as chairperson of the overall planning and preparation process. It was also agreed that central funding support should be sought from Croke Park to assist with the costs of delivering Féile 2021, especially as it’s the 50-year anniversary of the event and will be organised on a cross-provincial basis for the first time.

Cúl Camps

It was noted that Central Council is proposing a new Cúl Camp ratio of supervisors, on foot of a Túsla / Sport Ireland recommendation that could significantly increase the operating costs of the Cúl Camps to Wexford GAA. It was agreed that this matter would be explored further.

Match arrangements for Sunday 16 February

A large crowd is expected for the NHL match against Kilkenny, perhaps up to c. 8,000 depending on the weather. It was noted that additional scanning machines will be needed, particularly at the Clonard end. Management members are asked to assist in roadside stewarding and it was also agreed that it is imperative that additional stewards are recruited from our clubs in order to keep to as low as level a possible the requirement to spend on private security. The Cathaoirleach stated that his aim was to reduce the costs of private security to 2018 levels. It was noted that active stewards receive an annual pass that affords them free access to all club games in the county and this should be emphasised in the drive to recruit additional volunteers.

Community Employment Scheme update

The current CE scheme coordinator will be taking maternity leave from mid-April so interviews will take place for a replacement for the duration of the maternity leave. It was also noted that a ground maintenance worker will be taken on board from the CE scheme in the coming weeks.

Coaching office update

It is likely that additional GPO resources will be recruited and assigned to clubs in early March. A meeting for all clubs currently engaging with GPOs, or planning to do so, will take place on 4 March.

Other business

The financial benefit to the county of qualifying for the national hurling league quarter-finals is significant and it is hoped that positive results in forthcoming matches against Kilkenny and Dublin will help to achieve this outcome.

On the footballing front, it was noted that our Under 20 footballers will play Meath in St. Patrick’s Park this weekend in the Leinster quarter-final and that Brian Malone will set an all-time appearance record for our senior footballers of 165 appearances.

Championship draws will now take place on Sunday 16 February in Chadwicks Wexford Park after the conclusion of the NHL match against Kilkenny; the event will be recorded for subsequent broadcast by South East Radio.

The Wexford Town urban report prepared by iar-Uachtarán Liam O’Neill was circulated to the clubs in the town in Autumn 2019. To date, only Sarsfields and St.Joseph’s have responded and they are broadly happy with his recommendations and would like to see them implemented.

Wellness Week 2020 is being overseen by Éanna Martin and he will be asked to submit a draft programme of events to the next management meeting.