Friday 24 November 2017

Dunne deserves a lot better from the silent Board reps

Brendan Furlong

As the Irish rugby players were being lavished with luxuries in the build-up to their opening World Cup game with Canada, Wexford G.A.A. Board delegates had concerns much closer to home.

Irish team manager Joe Schmidt, after an intense two months of preparations coupled with international games, showed his appreciation with the holding of a barbeque at his home for players and backroom staff, where each player brought lavish sponsored presents to be presented to the squad members.

While all of this was taking place in Dublin, down in a meeting room in the Riverside Park Hotel in Enniscorthy, the financial package of Liam Dunne, if one could call it that, was being taken asunder by two club delegates, Dave Ormonde (Clonard) and Seamus O'Leary (Shelmaliers).

Now one will hear the cry that rugby is professional, while the G.A.A. is voluntary and run on an amateur basis. There is no problem with that. But the real problem is that Liam Dunne is putting in an equal amount of time as the Irish manager is into the preparation of his squad, in different surrounds and different circumstances, with players who are working full-time or attending college, all of whom have to be facilitated in different ways.

It's a full-time occupation for any G.A.A. manager, many of whom are on different packages to others, but in Wexford this is limited to just 50 cent per km., the official G.A.A. package, some considerable distance from the amounts being bandied about for managers of other counties.

What happened at last Wednesday night's County Board meeting was nothing short of alarming. The two club delegates mentioned went out on an orchestrated tandem regarding Liam Dunne's package and the financial expenditure of the county.

This subsequently led to a silent vote by club delegates when the County Chairman asked the meeting for a proposal to sanction the county management decision to hand Liam Dunne and his backroom charge of the county Senior hurling team.

His first call was met with silence. <inutes later he made a second call on delegates, but Wexford G.A.A. can be thankful for the intelligence of Tony Dempsey in avoiding a hurling crisis in the county. The Central Council delegate proposed the county management decision, and following some seconds of soul-searching, Oulart-The Ballagh delegate Mary Doyle, who is also Chairperson of the club, seconded the proposal.

It was a shattering experience given the apparent reluctance of the club to jump to the head of the queue and propose their own clubman to save any further embarrassment. The club also has an officer at the top table who remained silent.

So, nothing has changed with Wexford G.A.A. Board. We are left with limp club delegates, whom it would seem were led by a small grouping, as this silent protest had to be orchestrated, given its completeness.

Out of all of that one was alarmed that the meagre finances afforded all Wexford inter-county team preparations, along with the County Board spend, should have had such an influence on delegates, who still demand success on the playing pitches of the country.

The lack of courage of club delegates once again demonstrated the current County Board is not viable. The Clonard and Shelmaliers club delegates who led the charge are well aware of the problems besetting their own respective clubs, both on the field and financially, so it's important that realism is brought to their salvos.

The Wexford town club joined at under-age with Volunteers, being unable to field teams, while they have suffered embarrassingly heavy defeats at adult level, and must be on the brink of extinction given their lack of players and facilities.

Meanwhile, the G.A.A. itself has brought some financial comfort to the Shelmaliers club.

All of this reminded me of that infamous night in Murphy-Flood's Hotel many years back when club delegates failed to return our most famous son, Nickey Rackar, as a Senior hurling selector.

Wexford hung their heads in shame then, and now they can hang their heads in shame once again at the embarrassment afforded another All-Ireland medal winner and current team manager, Liam Dunne.

Wexford People

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