Sunday 18 August 2019




THE PRESSURE will be cranked up over the coming days and weeks but the time has arrived for change at the helm of Wexford's Senior football affairs.

Although promotion was achieved in the league, despite losing the Division 3 final to Longford, their championship challenge started to become unhinged with a dreadful second-half display after dominating the reigning All-Ireland champions, Dublin, in the first period.

But there is every reason to believe that last Saturday afternoon's qualifier defeat to a Tipperary side recently relegated to Division 4, and whom Wexford had convincingly defeated in the league, will bring the final curtain down on the managerial reign of Jason Ryan and his backroom team.

No county in recent times has forensically examined their shortcomings more than Ryan and his charges but during that period all the Model county has to show for their efforts was one Division 3 league title.

Wexford may have shared a memorable run through the qualifiers and an All-Ireland semi-final appearance in Ryan's first year in charge (2008), but all he has achieved since then is some close-run games with Dublin.

While they have put up some strong challenges and some fine individual displays, Wexford have lacked consistency and the qualities needed to become a championship force, and ultimatley have failed to become a side any better than their league status suggests.

While Ryan brought much to Wexford football in terms of organisation and a professional approach, his gameplan has been the same each season. With no variation to their style of play, they must be the easiest side for any county to prepare for, knowing that their approach of over-utilising the handpass in their own half of the pitch will not change. A mediocre Tipperary side, who changed management mid-term, ran up a relatively low score of 1-13, and yet it was sufficient to achieve victory. That alone speaks volumes for Wexford's pattern of football.

After five years of Ryan the county must now reconsider his position in the wake of this latest disappointment. This is a team that has been backed by the County Board with a huge financial outlay. Yet in that period we have little or nothing to show for the expenditure.

Now, the question is will Ryan leave of his own accord or will the County Board have to stand tall and make a tough decision. There should be nothing crude about this. Wexford must decide its footballing future and who is best to take it forward.

Already County Chairman, Diarmuid Devereux, has a committee in place to look at future managerial appointments in the county regarding the 'big ball' game.

The committee will be chaired by Seamus Fitzhenry of the famous Duffry Rovers family. On the committee also are our weekly football columnist Billy Dodd (Sarsfields), Seamus Hughes (Kilanerin) and Leigh O'Brien (Horeswood). They have the power to enlist further names if needed.

It's already believed that Wexford has moved to consider its future intentions as to who should lead the county's footballers into 2013.

The next few weeks should certainly be interesting.

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