Clubs experiencing what I must endure on a weekly basis!

On The Line with Alan Aherne

Published 27/08/2016 | 00:00

Alan Aherne
Alan Aherne

I may not be involved with any team in the local G.A.A. championships, but I can certainly empathise with the feeling that must prevail with so much activity being packed into such a short space of time.

It's a sadly familiar situation for club players all over the county as they are left idle for months on end, only to be pressed into action week after week once all of the Wexford teams depart from their respective championships.

Many teams have trained incessantly since late January or early February, and now it all boils down to what happens in the space of six or seven days.

Numerous sides departed from the football race at various levels last weekend, and if they're not careful the same fate could befall some of them next Saturday and Sunday in hurling.

It may be bordering on the tenuous to try to link work with sport, but I know exactly what it feels like to have so much activity of a critical nature packed into such a fleeting period.

You see, the fact that everything boils down to two weekends in late August, after months of training without championship games, reminds me of what I contend with on a weekly basis in work.

Given that so much sporting activity happens on Saturdays and Sundays, it means that it's a very good week when perhaps ten per cent of the pages in this supplement are completed by Friday evening.

The vast majority of the work is crammed into a very tight timeframe, particularly the 24 hours from Sunday evening to 5.30 p.m. Monday when the printing deadline has to be met.

What exactly does that involve? Well, the time not attending matches over the weekend is spent primarily in the office subbing and laying out pages as the information gradually comes in.

It always helps not to have a long journey to make to a game on Sunday, because that means more pages can be laid out that morning before travelling to some local encounter.

It's a case of the earlier, the better, in terms of making it back to the office as soon as possible Sunday evening to start tackling the large volume of copy arriving in from club and county P.R.O's before the 10 p.m. deadline.

The routine is familiar: leave the office between 11 and 11.30 p.m. Sunday, set the alarm clock for 4 a.m., get back behind the desk for 5 a.m. and work straight through to a finish twelve hours later.

When the pressure is at its height, there's always consolation in the realisation that there has never been a Tuesday morning yet without a newspaper hitting the streets.

I guess the equivalent for the G.A.A. team bowing out of the championship is the inevitable comment that will surely be uttered at some stage when the sorrows are being drowned and the pints are being downed: 'sure, there's always next year'.

There's always next week for another edition of the newspaper, and the same familiar cycle endures.

Regardless of who wins and who loses in hurling this coming weekend, I think it's fair to say that the decision to reduce the number of teams in each championship from 16 to twelve has been very productive.

Take the Pettitt's Senior championship as the prime example. Gone are the days when a few clubs would be slightly too strong for Intermediate, but not quite good enough for the top flight, leading to a yo-yoing up and down for some on a regular basis.

This time around there will arguably be as much interest in who goes down as who collects the title, given that Faythe Harriers, St. Anne's and Shelmaliers are all in particularly uncomfortable positions.

It looks like whatever happens a heavy-hitter will be making the drop, not for the first time either since the welcome change in structures.

Buffers Alley managed to bounce back at the first attempt when they briefly exited the Senior championship, and Starlights did the same in football. However, it's not always as simple as that, so the weekend's results will be watched with interest.

You can read all about them here next week, after another crazy 24 hours putting it all together!

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