Thursday 23 November 2017

Fixture change in May lashed

Wexford has emerged as the only one of the three counties affected by the Leinster championship date change in May to be happy with the situation.

Co. Chairman Diarmuid Devereux was the first to comment on the matter when it broke twelve days ago, stating that the county had no difficulty with the decision to move our matches with Dublin and Kildare from May 29 back to May 21 to facilitate a second Bruce Springsteen concert in Croke Park.

However, the Kildare manager and the Dublin C.C.C. were highly critical of the altered schedule, making their feelings known in no uncertain terms last week.

New Lilywhites boss Cian O'Neill, a former physical trainer of the Mayo and Kerry footballers plus the Tipperary hurlers, expressed his anger in an interview with his local newspaper, 'The Kildare Nationalist'.

'It's very disappointing because there was absolutely zero consultation no matter what anyone says. I was never consulted,' he said.

'I'm hugely disappointed because the first thing I did when I got the job was to set about planning our season, right up to the All-Ireland final.

'Obviously that is ambitious but if the plan if there you can always work backwards as opposed to having no plan,' O'Neill added.

'Even if there were some solutions put on the table and we had some input into what would suit best, I would have been more happy with that, even if it didn't go the way we wanted. At least then there would have been some consultation.

'This was basically an edict sent down to the County Board apparently, and certainly sent down to me.'

O'Neill's annoyance was echoed in a statement issued by the Dublin C.C.C. on the matter, advising its clubs of a change to the fixture calendar they had adopted at a county committee meeting last month.

'The knock-on effect of the Leinster Senior hurling championship date change is that C.C.C. Atha Cliath may not now be in a position to schedule Dublin Senior or Intermediate football championship fixtures as planned for the week ending 15 May due to the unavailability, under bye-law, of members of the Dublin Senior hurling panel who play football with their clubs.'

The statement added that representations made to the Leinster Council about the 'unacceptable consequences' of their fixture change, and also providing proposed compromise dates to resolve the problem, have proven to be unsuccessful.

'C.C.C. Atha Cliath very much regrets any inconvenience caused to clubs, players and mentors arising from this unwelcome scenario.'

In sharp contrast, the Wexford County Board strangely has no issue with the change, even though its own C.C.C. would have been basing the club fixtures schedule around the original Leinster championship dates which were made in November.

The first round of the club football championships will be held on the week ending April 10, but it's not possible yet to determine a date for the second round as it depends on the advancement or otherwise of the Senior footballers and hurlers in their Allianz League campaigns.

The earliest possible date for the hurling championship is the week ending April 23, but this also depends on the factor outlined above.

With the inter-county double-header brought forward to May 21, it rules out the previous weekend for club games, putting immediate pressure on the overall schedule and leading to a lot of uncertainty for club players in particular.

Wexford People

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