Thursday 23 November 2017

Delegates left with much to ponder before Convention

Brendan Furlong's Hop Ball

Brendan Furlong
Brendan Furlong

There's more to the G.A.A. than the politics of handing out grants.

Perhaps this is a time of change for Wexford G.A.A. and time for some to buckle their seat belts, sit back and reflect, and put forward a vision for the Association in the county as the race for votes gathers momentum over the coming weeks.

And better still, to demonstrate how they intend to lead the G.A.A. in the county over the coming five years.

Given the departure of Diarmuid Devereux as County Chairman at next month's county Convention, having completed five years at the helm of the Association's affairs in Wexford, delegates will be asked to tick the right boxes as they decide on who they believe is the best person to assume office.

Three candidates have been nominated - Arthur Quinn, Derek Kent and Noel O'Keeffe - and for some their choice may have been made, while others may still have to decide, so maybe there is still time for minds to be changed or persuaded.

Luckily we have no opinion polls to give an indication of the trend at the present time, but there is an underlying problem that has still to grasp the attention of delegates.

Just how clubs and delegates define their thinking is becoming more and more difficult to visualise, but already the 2016 county Convention has taken on a whole new meaning.

For the very first time one of the candidates produced a glossy four-page brochure outlining his visions for the future of Wexford G.A.A. should he be elected.

Arthur Quinn is not what many would describe as a high-profile member of the G.A.A. despite years of fundraising through Wexford Supporters' Club of which he has acted as Chairman, and Club Wexford.

He has decided to give clubs and delegates an opportunity for complete change at the top table, and ti set out his vision for the Association in the county, meet with clubs and speak with club officers, taking his campaign to a high level of professionalism.

But there has been quite an ugly response to his campaign from some people. Quinn's campaign and brochure is something that should make his side feel good.

Meanwhile, the opposition have not been as forthcoming. Derek Kent, who completes his term as Leinster Council delegate, is fast becoming the ideal candidate for many, but their support is centred around the grants issue.

Many of those outside the inner workings of the Association will ask, what grants?

Well, Kent is highlighting the fact that he has contributed grants for their many developments. These are grants allocated by Leinster Council for club development works, and each county in the province benefits as much as Wexford.

More importantly though, these are grants that clubs are entitled to once their development work is progressing or complete. They are nothing more and nothing less than a basic club entitlement.

While Kent is highlighting the grants issue, I haven't heard any musings from the county's second Leinster Council delegate, Dermot Howlin, who is seeking re-election. It would be interesting to hear his take, if any, on the allocation of grants.

In any election race it's a glorious opportunity for candidates to present themselves before clubs and delegates with their vision for Wexford G.A.A. So far Arthur Quinn is the only candidate to meet that criteria.

I assume grants will still be available over the coming years for club development as was the case in the past, irrespective of who the county's delegates are or were.

Now it would be important to hear how Derek Kent is going to progress the G.A.A. in the county over his five-year term of office should he be elected.

The position of the third candidate, Noel O'Keeffe, is still unclear, but we understand he remains in the race for the moment, so perhaps we may hear from him coming up closer to county Convention.

Delegates have much to chew on over the next two weeks before they cast their votes.

Meanwhile, Oulart-The Ballagh may be hurting this week but they still can feel proud of their efforts on the hurling field. They can be proud of their achievements and will bounce back.

Wexford People

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