Ross clubs up in arms as league under threat
FOR ALMOST 23 years the Caulfield Under-10 Hurling League has been one of the most successful in the county, but it is now under threat following intervention by Leinster Council and Croke Park.
The Caulfield League serves clubs within the Caulfield SuperValu catchment area, namely New Ross District clubs and three Kilkenny clubs as well as St. Mullins, organised by well-known referee Michael Gannon on behalf of the organising committee.
This tournament changed over to the Go Games playing rules (eleven-a-side with players moving to different zones) approximately four to five years ago under the remit of the New Ross District committee as proposed by Horeswood delegate Denis Cadogan at the time.
This was a competition run on a league basis up to 2012. Trophies and medals were presented on finals day along with healthy goody bags, while 'A' and 'B' teams were accommodated to ensure maximum participation.
This competition grew since its inception to play an important role in the development of Under-10 hurlers for clubs with an eye towards Under-12 and Under-14 championships in the ensuing years.
There are other similar competitions in the county, notably the Kent Stainless Under-10 football league and the highly-rated Brendan Redmond Memorial Under-10 football league, organised by the Sarsfields club since its inception in 1994, which has featured many of the current-day inter-county footballers.
The idea of such competitions was to introduce boys to Gaelic games at a young age but the counter-argument from the G.A.A. is that it is merely implementing rules passed at a Special Congress in 2008.
By doing away with these tournaments and switching instead to blitzes which is suggested, they are actually taking a sledgehammer to Under-10 competitions as the Caulfield League has been halted mid-stream much to the annoyance of participants and mentors.
The committee charged with implementing the rule is known as the National Games Development Committee and its members argue that there is no dilution of the competitions by enforcing these rules.
The Chairman of this committee is Wexford man Micheál Martin (pictured) who is also Vice-Chairman of the County Board and a member of the St. John's Volunteers club.
It doesn't make sense to have two or three games in one day, as boys at this age do not react well to blitz competitions, given that they seek proper competitive games over a period of time to give them exposure to the actual games of hurling and football along with the skill sets involved.
Wexford G.A.A. has gone through a long and pain-staking application process with the Leinster Council in an effort to meet the criteria as laid down by rule passed at the 2008 Special Congress.
However, they were informed recently that the Caulfield League did not fall into the criteria required, with the result that games involving 16 clubs scheduled for later that evening were called off, leading to finals involving all 16 clubs scheduled for the following Saturday also being put on hold.
This has resulted in a high degree of anger amongst clubs, coaches and parents in the Ross District at the Leinster Council decision, particularly when they don't know if the league will be seen out in its original format.