Thursday 22 August 2019

Power's first year at the helm full of progressive signs

Billy Dodd.
Billy Dodd.

Billy Dodd's football analysis

David Power's first year in charge of the Wexford Senior and Junior football teams came to an end on Saturday in Fraher Field, Dungarvan.

A couple of weeks ago the Senior defeat to Derry was not unexpected, as the Ulster side had been operating in Division 1 of the National League until relegation this year and are a more seasoned outfit.

Home advantage was always going to be crucial also, as Wexford proved in their last game against Down.

Due to work commitments I did not attend the game but by all accounts the young Wexford team showed commendable spirit and battled to the end just as we have come to expect from them on a regular basis.

The Junior team also battled well against a more fancied Kerry outfit and were five points ahead with 15 minutes to go.

Unfortunately the loss of Jamie Carty, Anthony Masterson, James Breen, Kevin Rowe and Conor Sinnott for a variety of reasons had a major affect on the strength of the team, as Kerry finished the stronger.

Overall it has been a satisfying campaign for both county teams. A first Junior title in eight years is a major step forward bearing in mind the average age of the team.

David Power has stated his intention of using the Junior grade as a development squad, a wise move which paid rich dividends this season.

The confidence of winning a Leinster title and the experience of playing inter-county football at a young age is something that will stand to these players further down the line.

The Senior team had a disappointing start to the year when they were relegated, but the manner of the victory over Down in the qualifiers showed that there is talent in Wexford.

The qualifier route served its purpose and the players have gained invaluable experience and confidence from their performances against Down and Derry.

Promotion next year is now an achievable target for the team.

Next weekend sees a return to action on the club scene with important games in all grades, almost 15 weeks after the last round of championship matches.

Ridiculous gap

It's a ridiculous gap between games but it's not the fault of the County Board as they have to juggle club fixtures with county fixtures.

Every dual county in Ireland has the same problem so we are not unique, and it will never change until the county team fixtures structure is changed.

There are several suggestions doing the rounds at the moment but I still think we'll have the same complaints next year and the year after and the year after...clubs and players will just get on with it.

Another scourge for clubs which is creeping back in with more regularity is the loss of players to America once the county teams are finished.

Again it's a long-term problem and you can't criticise a young player for accepting a free trip and expenses to display their hurling or football skills in the land of opportunity.

With the expansion of Gaelic games to other parts of the world it could become an even bigger issue in years to come.

Can you imagine the reaction of some club manager when his star player texts him to say he's going to Dubai, or tags him in a picture from New York with his new team-mates or tweets him: scored 1-4 today for Brussels @cornerforward ≠gone for the summer.

Because that's how players communicate these days, the good old phone call or dropping out to a training session to explain is just not as popular anymore.

Be warned, you heard it here first!

Wexford People

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