Friday 22 November 2019

McLoughlin up in arms

Manager not happy with football preparation time

Paul McLoughlin
Paul McLoughlin

Brendan Furlong

Wexford Senior football manager Paul McLoughlin has bemoaned the county's strict adherence to the 'April club month' ruling as he claims preparations have been severely hampered for their Leinster championship opener against Louth in Innovate Wexford Park on May 12.

'In 29 days I have had two recovery sessions. The players went back to their clubs, and stayed with their clubs, so whether this is an advantage or disadvantage, time will tell,' he said.

'Right now I can say the G.A.A. public in Wexford just don't care about football in the county. I'm not moaning but it's a serious, harsh reality of the current situation.

'I had half a squad for recovery sessions. Many players were training with their clubs, while I did not deem it worthwhile dragging players down from Dublin again,' he continued.

'I would have liked to have been able to train like the hurlers after the Derry game, but the players returned to their clubs.

The Derry game was very good, very promising, as it was a game we could have won, particularly with a bit more confidence in front of goal.'

McLoughlin is not happy with the limitations put on preparations for the Louth game.

'We are looking ahead to Louth, looking forward to the game, but we have been placed under a serious time constraint in preparation time.

'The Croke Park club thing is working well for clubs in Wexford, to an extent, but it's not the same in the majority of other counties.

'The club league is not respected in Wexford. It should be elevated to a different status, with the club championship following on from inter-county so that all counties are on a level playing field going into the championship.

'We broke on March 23, have had two recovery sessions in 29 days. We resume on Monday evening (Bank Holiday) but it will leave us with less than three weeks preparation.

'I am not preparing an excuse but that's the reality of the situation. Wexford seem to be adhering to Croke Park policy for whatever reason.'

McLoughlin is hoping that the players will have remained injury free from the weekend championship action, and he will be boosted by the return of Barry O'Connor.

'Barry is back following two weeks with Sydney Swans. He trained every day and is in great condition which is a huge boost,' he added.

The manager has been handed less than three weeks to prepare for what is the biggest challenge of the year so far.

It's a huge game which carries an added attraction, as a Wexford victory would hand them a home game with All-Ireland five-in-a-row chasing champions, Dublin.

April is considered the month for the club player, but in the majority of counties they do not play county championship despite the designation from Croke Park.

Wexford were one of the few counties to run off two rounds of club championship games in both football and hurling, but the reward for the ordinary club players is to be sent out to grass now for the best months of summer, without any more championship action.

It makes a mockery of the club championship in Wexford, as it does little to add to the status of the ordinary club player.

Really it's a token gesture since, once the championship resumes, the crucial knockout stages will be played out in the worst possible weather conditions.

As April draws to a close cracks are beginning to appear, as many counties left the supposed 'club month' entirely free of club championship action, to enable counties prepare for their respective provincial campaigns.

It's probably fair to say that an inter-county training camp in a foreign country is precisely not what 'club month' is supposed to be about. In fact, it would be hard to find anything in the world less in keeping with the spirit of 'club month' than an inter-county training camp in a foreign country.

Armagh have already undertaken a training camp in Portugal, while Wexford will travel to the same base at the end of this month to continue preparations for their Dublin Senior hurling championship opener.

Meanwhile, the majority of counties without club championship games have already upped their preparations over the past number of weeks.

All of this is in stark contrast to the situation faced by Paul McLoughlin who will have less than three weeks to prepare a side for their provincial opener.

It is difficult to argue with McLoughlin's case; he is by no means making excuses, since he has a genuine complaint with the latest issue to befall football in the county.

Wexford People

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