Time for football to get equal treatment from County Board

Brendan Furlong's Hop Ball

Brendan Furlong
Brendan Furlong

Lets not be hypocrites. Wexford G.A.A. should admit that football is no longer given the level playing pitch compared to their hurling counterparts.

Over the past five years equality was always the theme when it came to budgets for both hurling and football - both codes were treated equally when it came to providing a budget for each year.  The end of 2016 was no different, as both codes had equal budgets allocated for 2017 by then County Chairman, Diarmuid Devereux.

But make no mistake about it: football is very much on the back burner in 2017. Take the last week for instance, a real indicator of how the big ball game has been demeaned in the county.

Last week we had the announcement of Seamus McEnaney to take charge of the county's Junior football team. This followed a County Board meeting where club delegates were informed the matter was being dealt with.

On his appointment as Senior manager, the Monaghan man made it quite clear he would take charge of the Under-21 side but not the Junior.

So in a moment of desperation he has been ushered in to take charge of the Junior set-up some five months into 2017, a year when Wexford will be seeking three provincial titles in a row.

For those who get so much pleasure in trying to promote football in the county - some will say against the widest of odds - the raw wounds were opened even further on Saturday afternoon, when the Minor football management consciously chose not to wear their official bibs in protest at the treatment of players, management and parents by County Board over the past number of months.

The social media networks have been live with comment over the past two weeks, commenting on the treatment of the county's Minor footballers, and the control exerted by the Minor hurling management.

Their approach is governing the forward momentum of the Minor grade, as County Board officers sit back and gorge themselves on the Davy bandwagon, to the detriment of Minor football in particular.

On this occasion County Board has taken it a step too far. The Wexford Minor footballers deem it an honour to wear that jersey. Their recognition comes from being provided with the proper gear, and being deemed equal to their hurling counterparts.

But there is a real resilience between this group of young players and management.

Their first-half performance was no doubt affected by being presented with their gear just an hour before the game, and this their second outing let's not forget.

They took time to settle as a result, but turned in a resounding second-half display into the wind, turning a five-point interval deficit into a four-point win.

The players did their talking on the pitch. The team management supported them on the sideline by consciously leaving their bibs to one side.

They may not have felt comfortable in doing this, but should Wexford football be the better for this protest, it will be looked upon as a protest well worth undertaking.

Now is the time for those involved in Wexford football to stand up and ask serious questions of those in charge of the G.A.A. in the county.

It's unfair and demeaning for players and management to be treated in this manner.

The parents who continually drive players to training sessions also deserve respect, and their sons should be treated equally at all times.

Now is the time for serious questions to be asked of those responsible. It's a serious issue and clubs should be calling for stern action be taken against those involved.

Wexford are now in a Leinster Minor football quarter-final. They have been drawn against Carlow, leaving them with a real chance of qualifying for a provincial semi-final, which in itself would be a wonderful feat, as it would be achieved against all the odds, and obstacles placed in their way, even when it came to providing training facilities for the team.

Preparations have not been easy but there's a resilient bunch involved. We may not have seen or heard the last from them yet.

This should all provide for an interesting discussion over the coming days.

Wexford People

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