Performances of newer members a big boost to team
Wexford senior footballers continued their quest for promotion from Division 4 of the Allianz League with a hard-earned three-point win over our neighbours Wicklow.
Yet again the wintry conditions were not ideal for flowing football but both teams coped well and served up an entertaining encounter. As well as the two points to keep them top of the table, the team got the experience of battling it out in a local derby and never looked like losing.
A crucial goal by Niall Hughes only a couple of minutes after his introduction early in the first-half was the difference between the sides in the end, but a period of dominance in the second-half was the main reason for victory.
During a ten-minute period Wexford extended their lead to six points and left Wicklow with a difficult task playing against the elements.
There were many encouraging aspects of the victory, including a wider spread of scoring personnel, the performances of the newer members of the team, and the opportunity to use six replacements, allowing younger players to gain more experience playing at this level.
Also, yet again the management changed the tactics and the personnel to suit the conditions in either half. That shows a confidence in the players at their disposal.
A slight concern was the failure again to convert more of the goal chances created, but pitch conditions and the excellence of inter-county goalkeepers also has to be taken iwnto consideration.
Jim Rossiter is improving in every game at full-back, a tough jersey to fill after the excellent previous players to wear the number three for Wexford. Daithí Waters deserves his weekly mention for excellence while in the forwards Kevin O'Grady looks to be regaining the form of two years ago.
Ciarán Lyng looks fit and eager again and scored two of the finest points you will ever see, one with his natural left foot and one with the foot he normally stands on.
Things are certainly going well for the Senior footballers at the moment. P.J. Banville, Naomhan Rossiter, Adrian Flynn and Donal Shanley are also approaching full fitness and will add to the competition for places.
Heading into a two-week break from competitive games, Wexford are in the best position possible to achieve their target of promotion. The next game is at home to London where two points are expected, followed by another home clash with Westmeath and an away game with Carlow.
The winning habit is a nice one to get in to and the momentum gained will only benefit the team for what should be qualification for a league final.
The recent controversy at Congress where the hierarchy refused to listen to the opinions of the CPA was a bit of a public relations disaster for the G.A.A. They can dress it up, use lack of procedures and motions as an excuse and then wrap it in red tape, but they still came out on the wrong side of public opinion and more importantly of playing member opinion.
Although the CPA was formed only a few months ago it gained momentum and popularity amongst players and ordinary members. Almost 25,000 people have registered in this short time and the Association has the leadership, support and endorsement of many articulate and intelligent people.
Surely some engagement would have sent out the right message to the players and members who are worried about the future of our games. To quote a few lines from the CPA official launch which says it all: 'They are not a burden on the Association. They are the Association. If there are no players, there are no games. And if there are no games there is nothing. Already players are voting with their feet.' Perhaps it's time to listen.