Friday 19 January 2018

High-profile committee chosen to get to grips with Minor failure

Jim Bolger
Jim Bolger

Wexford has set in train a new initiative for under-age hurling in an effort to get to grips with years of disappointment at inter-county Minor level.

County Chairman, Diarmuid Devereux, informed the monthly meeting of the County G.A.A. Board that he was collapsing the under-age hurling set-up as it now stood, to be replaced with a new venture to take Minor hurling into the future.

He announced to delegates the setting up of a special committee to look at under-age hurling, Minor in particular, under the Chairmanship of former Wexford C.B.S. principal Michael O'Grady, who was instrumental in setting up of the successful Dublin under-age model.

He will be joined by Jim Bolger, one of the county's most successful horse trainers on the national and international stage; Frank Flannery from Cork, a former Waterford mentor, now trainer of Oulart-The Ballagh; and accountant Justin Prendergast, who will carry out a value for money review on under-age hurling.

Addressing delegates, the Chairman said the county had exited both Minor championships and it's not yet the end of May. He said that everyone had put in a great effort but the county cannot continue to fund Minor teams in the way it is doing so at present.

'We are not getting value for money. The Minor hurling team over two years cost €70,000, while we got to an All-Ireland Under-21 hurling final spending less money than what was spent on Minor hurling in a single year,' he said.

'When appointed, management want success, players want success, but looking at Under-16, Minor and Under-21 in two codes, something has to give. The reality is that it has to be dealt with. I'm collapsing the Minor inter-county structure into the future.

'I'm putting in place a special committee to carry out an audit of Minor hurling and where it is to take us into the future. We are going to examine it, with the new Games Manager providing the necessary information regarding under-age and Minor hurling in particular to enable the committee to come up with a plan to take us into the future,' he added.

'This year we had the most successful colleges year ever. Last week our secondary school committee organised a blitz which had participants from 13 secondary schools. Out of all that we were only able to win one Minor hurling championship game.

'On the football side we had a fantastic year at colleges. The young players with the Minor footballers were highly impressive against Dublin but this is a new hurling initiative as, given the results at blitz levels for under-age football, the Football committee is achieving their goal.'

Football cost the county about €60,000 over the two years. He also said that Westmeath, spending a fraction of the Wexford budget, were putting in great work but something is wrong in Wexford.


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