Have the people in charge of teams really lost the plot?
Published 08/12/2015 | 00:00
This is the time of year when leading G.A.A. officials question the escalating costs involved with all inter-county teams.
With the Wexford County Convention just seven days away, the cost of inter-county teams for 2015 is no longer a mystery as, along with Development Squad costs, it has shown an increase on 2014.
Some G.A.A. officials throughout the country have questioned whether inter-county teams have 'lost the plot', with some calling for a return to core values of coaching in Gaelic football and hurling.
While costs of training and administering county teams are on the increase, Wexford - given its dual status - still lags a considerable distance behind the big guns of both hurling and football.
It will be interesting to compare the Model county costs alongside those of Dublin, Mayo, Kerry, Cork, Tipperary, Kilkenny and Donegal, with the northern county in their All-Ireland winning year spending more on one team than Wexford spent in its entirety on their inter-county sides.
From a rough estimate it's believed that Wexford will have spent some €750,000 on inter-county team preparation this year, retaining the Leinster Under-21 hurling title and winning a Leinster Junior football title, but failing to make a real impact in either Senior grade.
Almost all teams now have coterie of different types of experts involved with them from physiotherapists (two or three), dieticians, sports psychologists, athletes, training experts, coaches and stats personnel to go alongside expensive equipment. Most of those drawn in from other codes come at enormous expense.
An industry has been set up around inter-county teams, now filtering through to clubs, which is not reciprocated by Gaelic games coaches being involved with teams in other codes.
I would like to ask is it working? Is it paying off? Have we lost the plot? Have we an inferiority complex about our own ability to coach Gaelic games despite having the best developed resources in the world?
It's time to get back to the basics of what Gaelic games are about: catching, kicking, scoring, team plan and improved skill levels.
Move away from the months of heavy physical training which is leading to players retiring in their late twenties, as this is training more suited to professional long-distance athletes.
While on the subject of training costs, one has to laud the initiative of Wexford Senior football manager, David Power, and his team management who are about to launch their own fundraiser, 'The Kube', which is being proudly sponsored by Aircon Mech.
The Wexford Senior and Under-21 players and management are organising the event on Saturday, December 19, in St. Joseph's Community Centre in Wexford town.
Everyone will know about 'The Kube' from their TV screens. It's a very popular show and it should be a fun-filled night of entertainment as many local personalities will do their bit for the benefit of the players on these two teams who will be back in the thick of competitive action in the very near future.
The current players plus local celebrities and past players who have played for Wexford in both hurling and football will be taking part, with the full line-up of the 36 participants to be announced at a press conference in Clayton Whites Hotel this Thursday evening, December 10.
All funds raised are for the coaching and development of the Wexford Senior and Under-21 footballers.
Wexford G.A.A. legends such as Matty Forde, David Murphy, Redmond Barry, Tom Dempsey and Larry O'Gorman will be there as well as present-day footballers such as Brian Malone, Ben Brosnan, and many of their colleagues.
Local T.D. Paul Kehoe will also be there as well as other Wexford sports men and women who hopefully will be confirmed this week.
While on the subject of County Conventions, it's heartening to see that Wexford G.A.A. after four difficult years has once again showed a surplus with their working capital of some €112,000.
More details of the county's finances will be given next week after the approval of the accounts.
Convention is taking place in the Riverside Park Hotel in Enniscorthy on Tuesday, December 15, and it looks like being a quiet affair on the whole in terms of elections and motions.