County struggling to locate backbone on and off the field

On the line with Alan Aherne

Published 20/02/2016 | 00:00

Alan Aherne
Alan Aherne

The meek capitulation of the Wexford hurlers in the first-half in Limerick wasn't a pretty sight, and it doesn't bode well for the rest of the year.

Don't be deluded by the improved display in the third quarter either; when the points were still seriously up for grabs and early markers needed to be laid down, the visitors were nowhere to be seen.

I'm proud to hail from this county and always will be, but some of the fare served up by the losers on Saturday night was difficult to watch.

Have you ever attended an All-Ireland final and discovered that one of your neighbours for the day has no interest in the Minor match, preferring to read the programme or play games on their phone while the action unfolds?

I always struggled to understand how somebody could pay good money for a ticket and not display any interest in what's happening on the field.

Yet, only for the fact that I was reporting in Limerick, I would have been sorely tempted to do the very same on Saturday. The complete lack of drive from Wexford was hard to take, and it seemed like collectively the team was simply going through the motions and resigned to its sorry fate.

It was a very dispiriting sight for the loyal supporters who crossed the country genuinely hoping that the Slaneysiders would be competitive at the very least.

A worrying pattern is now firmly established whereby, not alone are we losing any game of consequence, we are actually being hammered in the vast majority, because a beating of ten points or more in 70 minutes of hurling fits readily into that category in my view.

Three of our last four serious contests have ended in losses of 24, ten and now 14 points respectively to Kilkenny, Dublin and Limerick, while there was an eight-point gap versus Cork last summer.

It's got to the stage where match-goers from the other traditional hurling counties are starting to show pity towards our plight, and I find that very hard to stomach.

It takes one of two forms, either patronising guff or genuine concern, but either way I certainly heard enough of it leaving the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday and also sitting in the stand in Walsh Park on Sunday at the Waterford versus Kilkenny game.

The common question is: 'what's gone wrong down there?', and this is often followed by the addendum that hurling needs a strong Wexford team. What it needs and what it's getting are poles apart at the minute.

The county seems to be struggling to locate its backbone, and that's not just the case on the field as the same applies within the corridors of power.

Following on from my comments in last week's column regarding the Leinster championship date changes, I was very interested to see that both Kildare and Dublin have now voiced strong objections, via their team manager and C.C.C. respectively.

That leaves Wexford completely out on a limb as the sole county happy with the change of arrangements which have already disrupted our domestic fixtures schedule and left club players entirely clueless as to when, or if, they will have any meaningful matches in the month of May.

Our own C.C.C. would have spent a lot of time since the announcement of the original Leinster championship dates working on a programme which was thrown into complete disarray by the announcement of the move from May 29 back to May 21.

And if there's some issue with club scheduling later in the year, or if we fail once again to meet a Leinster championship deadline, I wonder will anyone stand up for the committee and remind everyone of the problems heaped upon them by the financial gurus in Croke Park? I doubt it very much, because memories are always short in such instances.

There was a time when Wexford stood up for itself in the boardroom, but now the county must surely be regarded as a soft touch by the powers-that-be. It's an unwelcome development which needs to be nipped in the bud sooner rather than later.

Wexford People

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