Sunday 18 August 2019

Some clubs are under pressure

Struggling to field full teams

Brendan Furlong
Brendan Furlong

Brendan Furlong

There is a big danger facing many G.A.A. clubs and one can feel a small bit sorry for them.

Given the weekend developments, the worry is that many clubs will soon come down to just one adult team and even with that some will struggle unless there is a real transformation over the coming months.

That's the big danger give the number of games that failed to take place in various championship grades.

St. Fintan's in midweek withdrew their Junior 'A' side from the county championship, while Duffry Rovers could only muster 13 players for their Junior 'A' game with St. Anne's, conceding a walkover and playing a challenge game.

Davidstown-Courtnacuddy couldn't field for their Intermediate 'A' football championship game with Kilrush which was scheduled for Farmleigh as part of a double-header on Saturday.

In fairness to clubs, they are struggling for numbers even for one team.

This was most notable in the second game at Farmleigh where St. Patrick's (Ballyoughter) could only muster 16 players for their Intermediate 'A' football clash with Duffry Rovers.

One of their players was injured early in the second-half, with their lone substitute making an appearance, but after full-back James Cousins retired with a head injury they were reduced to 14 players for the remainder of the one-sided game.

The focus is on weekend happenings but it stretches much further than that. There are many clubs with just one team who are struggling, with some suffering embarrassing defeats.

Take Wexford town and the plight of Clonard. Forced to amalgamate as Wygram Gaels with Volunteers for under-age hurling along with Junior hurling, they must be one of the most demoralised clubs in the county given their sequence of Junior football results.

Prior to Sunday's narrow loss to a disinterested Buffers Alley, the games involving Clonard Junior footballers were a non-event as they suffered heavy defeats on three occasions.

It must now be noted that so many clubs are really struggling. It has never been like this in the past but the attitude of just entering teams and hoping to have 15-plus players must now be looked at.

Clubs must adjust and re-align their thinking. The system of conceding walkovers in the All-County Leagues is now creeping into the championship which in itself is frightening.

The club is the starting point in the G.A.A. but now so many parishes look in real trouble.

In fairness one has a certain sympathy for many of those given the facilities, pitches, dressing-rooms and clubhouses which they have put in place for the youth and adults of the parish.

While many deserve better, some will just come up with the simple one-liner as the answer: 'lack of numbers'.

Perhaps the foundation was ignored for far too long and is that now coming home to roost.

Wexford People

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