Hectic time ahead for Wexford footballers
The first round of the football championships was the start of what is going to be a hectic period for dual G.A.A. players in Wexford.
Over the seven weekends they are faced with three rounds of championship football, two rounds of hurling and a round of hurling league games.
Some people will complain but players and managers always say they want games and now they have them. The important thing is that managers balance recovery with training schedules now to keep players fresh and injury-free. Fitness levels should be at a reasonable level now so any training will be based around skills and tactics.
The pick of the performances last weekend were in Group B with Gusserane's one-point win over St. Martin's and a surprise four-point win by a new-look young Starlights team, inspired by a great performance by county hurler Liam Ryan. In the same group Horeswood gained the bragging rights in their local derby against newly-promoted St. James'.
In Group A Shelmaliers were in devastating form against Adamstown while St. Anne's began their defence of the title with a win over St. Fintan's. Fethard won the third game in the group with an easy victory over a disappointing Sarsfields team.
The Intermediate grade will again be the most competitive with a host of capable teams bidding for the title. Without mentioning all the teams, if you look at the groups you can see how difficult it would be to pick a winner.
Kilanerin certainly made a statement of intent in their first game last weekend when I believe some young fellow called Forde gave another exhibition of scoretaking. Keep an eye on him, he's a handy footballer. Ferns caused a mild surprise by putting a dent in Taghmon's ambitions, but Ferns are a good football team and should not be underestimated.
The most noticeable thing for me (being a died in the wool townie) was that no Wexford town team won a game at the weekend, thus depriving anyone of the slagging and bragging rights. However, it is no laughing matter for any of the clubs involved as they are all under pressure heading in to the second round of games next weekend. It will be interesting to see if they can reverse the trend before a three-week break.
I read an interesting interview in the 'Independent' last week with Sligo footballer and former All Star Charlie Harrison, who suffered a dreaded cruciate injury a few weeks ago at the age of 33. Despite this setback he has declared that he is going to return to full fitness and burst a gut to try to get his place back on the Sligo team.
The interview is an insight into the mindset of a lesser-known inter-county player from a low-profile county. His observations and experiences are indicative of the choices and sacrifices made by hundreds of inter-county players all over Ireland.
What makes the article refreshing is that it shows the drive, ambition and dedication you need to play for your county, whether it is one of the top counties and All-Ireland contenders or a county that is one of the also-rans. It gives a brief insight into his lifestyle, diet, expectation and commitment.
For me it sums up why players want to play with their county. All players are realists and know they are never going to win an All-Ireland, but the honour of wearing your county jersey as often as possible is a great consolation. A quote from the interview sums up the attitude county players need to have:'Maybe we are slaves to the game, there is definitely an element of truth in that. But I really wanted to sign up for this. I really enjoy playing county football and it's why I'll burst my ass and sign up for it again next year.'
Check out his interview online.