Tuesday 17 September 2019

Oulart's 'U-turn' has led to a rather awkward position

Brendan Furlong
Brendan Furlong

Brendan Furlong's Hop Ball

Liam Dunne has once again become the victim of the ineptitude of the Oulart-The Ballagh club which has affected his period as Wexford Senior hurling manager.

Dunne gave unstinting service to the club both as player and manager, but their dramatic 'U-turn' last week served up just another example of how the club operates off the field.

So Oulart-The Ballagh now end up supporting Liam Dunne's nomination to continue as Wexford Senior hurling manager for another year. This comes following their 'vow of silence' at the County Board meeting when they joined other club delegates in total silence when it was put to the meeting by County Chairman, Diarmuid Devereux, to ratify Dunne as manager for 2016.

It took the proposal of Tony Dempsey to end the impasse, after the County Chairman had requested a proposer and seconder on two occasions but the meeting by its vow of silence chose to neither support nor reject the proposal.

There has been quite a lot of talk at Oulart-The Ballagh's 'U-turn' and why they decided to row back, particularly at a time when Liam Dunne's term in office after five years at the helm is now complete.

It comes at a time when Wexford G.A.A. is seeking a new manager and backroom to guide the county into 2017 and beyond. Dunne's control at the helm has ended, and while he is interested in returning for another year, Wexford G.A.A. is now anxious to move on, in the process seeking out a new management set-up.

Is this an unhealthy loyalty? Dunne met with the club Chairperson, Mary Doyle, and County Board representative, Ger Doyle, last Wednesday in an effort to seek his club's support for his nomination to try to have him ratified for another year.

Incidentally, the club Chairperson and Breda Jacob, the county's Irish Officer, were present on that awkward night when the County Board meeting sat in silence.

Both were part of the club committee meeting on Wednesday night too when it was unanimously decided that the club would nominate Dunne for another year while also seeking out further support from the clubs of the county.

It's a difficult situation in which the club now finds itself as their Senior hurling manager, Frank Flannery, has also expressed an interest in the Wexford post, with the backing of many of the club's players.

The code of silence was damaging to Dunne, and he didn't get the verbal support of his two club colleagues on that famous night in Enniscorthy. Dunne struggled on, knowing he hadn't the support of the clubs, but their stroke was only denied by the intervention of Tony Dempsey.

I have been a supporter of Dunne while at the helm, but after five years of toil, I now believe the time has arrived for change.

Dunne's contract has ended. To secure a further year he has now to go through the interview process, but the general feeling of the county is that the time has arrived for change, a new leadership and new voice in the dressing-room.

And so now it's up to the clubs to come up with proposals. Clubs have been notified that Wexford G.A.A. is seeking a Senior hurling and football manager. Until closing time on Friday there will be speculation as to who Dunne's successor will be.

I feel sorry for the great Oulart-The Ballagh club, but this is a situation brought about by their own ineptitude. Silence can be damaging but it has now come back to haunt them.

On another note, some may feel that my eyesight must not be the best when it comes to assessing referees, but I have watched enough games to be in control of my own destiny.

Pat Kehoe efficiently controlled the Rapparees v. St. Martin's game, but a sharper shrill of the whistle would be of benefit to players and supporters, leaving him with three out of five. James Owens was his usual professional self in controlling the Glynn-Barntown v. Shelmaliers District derby, earning five out of five.

It was on to O'Kennedy Park on Sunday evening, and as usual David Jenkins was an efficient master in charge of St. James' v. Taghmon-Camross with four out of five, while Fintan Whyte competently handled the Rapparees v. Horeswood Junior game, going home with three out of five. So as the championship gathers momentum the men in black are stepping up the tempo.

Wexford People

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