Sunday 18 August 2019

A good day for the new sponsors bar the defeat

On The Line

Alan Aherne
Alan Aherne

Alan Aherne

I wonder will the day ever arrive when people refer to our main county ground as 'the Innovate', just as the Lansdowne Road of old is now 'the Aviva' to large tracts of the population?

I cannot envisage that happening myself as for the majority of folk, and us Wexford town natives in particular, the Clonard venue will always be known simply and with great affection as 'the Park'.

Fair play to Jim Hughes, Enda Cahill and the entire Innovate team though for supporting the county in such a practical and meaningful manner at a time when their cash injection is just what the doctor ordered from our County Board's point of view.

And while both results didn't go our way, in general Sunday showcased a lot of positives both on and off the field and I'm sure the new sponsors were pleased with the lively atmosphere generated by a vociferous and enthusiastic crowd.

In fairness a genuine effort was made to enhance the entertainment value for this attractive double-header, and the large band of travelling Limerick supporters also contributed to a fine occasion.

I guess on the law of averages two one-point wins each way meant that the honours were shared overall. However, try telling that to our hurlers after squandering a glorious opportunity, while in contrast the footballers will simply be relieved to have finally got off the mark.

It was good to see Keith Rossiter and Adrian Flynn earning the plaudits of the crowd at half-time in the hurling game for making over one hundred Senior appearances for the county.

However, I felt a little sorry for the young footballers from Good Counsel (New Ross) who seemed to be largely left to their own devices under the stand when they were introduced to the crowd with their Leinster trophy later in the day as they deserved better.

The main thing that struck me was the need for one person to be appointed as an events controller for similar double bills in the future, as the provincial winners didn't get the stage I felt they deserved.

'Corner Boy' were playing live behind the town end goal at the same time while the field was awash with youngsters, so much so in fact that the Limerick football warm-up in particular was clearly restricted for a few minutes.

I thought the stewards were very slow to step in and amend that particular situation, so on the whole I feel that the planning can be improved and I have no doubt that lessons will be learned.

To be fair to everyone concerned, Good Counsel were a very late addition to the programme of events as they only won their title 24 hours earlier, so the main concern at that stage no doubt was to fit them in at some point and there was no intent to downgrade them.

An interesting thought occurred to me at one stage during Sunday's proceedings. Our Pettitt's Senior hurling champions, Shelmaliers, had no player in action in the first game, while our Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football titleholders, St. Anne's, weren't represented on the field in the second tie!

Joe Kelly and Páraic O'Keeffe were unused substitutes for the respective teams but, whatever about it happening in one code, I reckon it was the first time ever that Wexford played a double-header and neither Senior county champion had a man involved.

And just to highlight our standing as an out-and-out dual county and add a little head-scratching confusion to the tale, the footballing Anne's had Liam Og McGovern and Diarmuid O'Keeffe on the hurling side while the Shels supplied Brian Malone and Simon Donohoe to the football cause. Try explaining that riddle to an outsider!

It will be a shock if the hurlers don't bounce back against Laois, and hopefully the footballers will build on their win in Sligo. However, they are performing in a rather unusual division.

I thought Clare looked very impressive on day one, but they flopped away to Louth in round two. I wasn't expecting that, and I was equally surprised to see the Wee county shipping a huge tally of 2-26 against Sligo on Sunday.

Taking all of that into account, the only thing to be said with some degree of certainty is that anything at all could happen on the trip to Markievicz Park. Best of luck to both teams and here's hoping the next double-header in Innovate Wexford Park - whenever that might be - will be marked by two wins rather than one.

Wexford People

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