Thursday 22 August 2019

Alan Aherne's On The Line

Sunday is D-day for both teams as fans grow anxious

Alan Aherne

There is a general air of grumpiness among long-suffering Wexford supporters as I write this column Monday afternoon, so please humour me for a moment as I add my own sour note to proceedings.

Leaving Sunday's non-performance aside for a moment, I have to ask the question: in this era of modern technology and full-time G.A.A. employees all over the country, why oh why do we still have to wait until lunchtime Monday before details of the following weekend's games are confirmed?

The vacuum between 3.30 p.m. yesterday and the emergence of white smoke from the corridors of power was filled by the usual idle talk, with some misinformed people who think they are experts on everything quite adamant that we were going to be at home to Cork once the quarter-final pairings were known.

Of course, that isn't the case, and God only knows where they got their information from, but if the G.A.A. showed a little foresight then surely this situation could be easily rectified.

On a day like Sunday when quarter-final pairings were determined, why couldn't the Central Competitions Control Committee gather for a meeting and start it immediately after the conclusion of the games?

Liaise with the full-time officials in all of the participating counties, and aim to furnish full details of the following weekend's fixtures by 8 or 9 p.m. Sunday.

That would be my solution anyway, and I see no reason why it cannot be implemented, especially in this era of the conference call which rules out the necessity for every committee member to be present in person.

Now that we know exactly where we stand, I don't feel I'm over-egging the pudding by stating that next Sunday is one of the most important days in Wexford G.A.A. for a long, long time.

One more loss for the footballers and they will most definitely be consigned to the basement division for 2016. The fact that their last two opponents, Fermanagh and Tipperary, are both chasing promotion certainly doesn't help their cause, so it's a time when real character is needed.

If I'm to be brutally honest, I will be pleasantly surprised if the footballers somehow manage to avoid the drop at this stage, because quite simply they haven't played well enough so far this year to warrant anything else.

As for the hurlers, it was hard to credit that our opponents last Sunday were the same crew we swarmed all over in Nowlan Park last summer during our best championship run for many years.

Our hunger and momentum carried us through that major test in spectacular fashion, making one wonder how the roles could be reversed so emphatically this time around.

It was a chastening experience and for the first time I detect a growing uneasiness among followers of the team.

Have we really made progress since last year? Are we stagnant, or have we in fact lost ground? That's three scenarios to ponder, and that's why Sunday's trip to Cork now assumes such major importance. After being so inexplicably flat against Waterford with such a lucrative prize to work towards, Wexford will have to really tear into the Leesiders in order to win some of their followers back.

While they mightn't like it, I think most people can move on from a defeat if they at least feel that their team battled hard for everything and gave a good account of themselves.

Therefore, while the game against Limerick was undoubtedly thrown away, the players had really gone for it and plenty of positives emerged from the 70 minutes.

That was clearly not the case last Sunday though, but perhaps it's a blessing that the hurlers have such a short time to wait before getting back out on the field.

Cork may have faltered down the home straight against Tipperary, but they carry a serious attacking threat and if we are not able to - at the very least - rise to this new challenge, then it will be time to ask even more pressing questions.

Please excuse me if you're detecting negativity flowing from my keyboard, but bad defeats tend to have that kind of impact!

Wexford People

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