Monday 18 December 2017

Turbulent times for Wexford GAA on a number of fronts

Brendan Furlong's Hop Ball

Brendan Furlong
Brendan Furlong

These are turbulent times for Wexford G.A.A. with many now asking just what is going on at the helm of affairs in the county.

Sometimes it's so easy to pass the buck, but once the decisions are made, it subsequently falls back to the top table to show leadership.

Keeping everyone happy is no easy task but once one decides to delegate responsibility, authority is immediately eroded.

And in the circumstances, depending on their nature, issues arise that can lead to embarrassment for the association in the county along with the loss of control.

During the week the turbulence in Wexford G.A.A. escalated after some months of discontent.

Earlier we had the outburst of Minor football manager, John Nolan, over the failure to provide gear to his team.

That was followed by the under-age tournament debacle and the playing of a suspended player.

And now some members of the referees' association are not happy after the decision to reduce a two-game ban, imposed on David Murphy for an incident with referee Dan Crosby, to one game after an appeal hearing on Saturday morning.

This left the county football selector available to assist his club, St. Mary's (Rosslare), in the Intermediate championship semi-final later that afternoon, and he then took his place 24 hours later on the sideline as a mentor with the St. Martin's Senior football team for their drawn encounter with Shelmaliers.

Incidentally, Murphy had that two-game ban imposed by Wexford's C.C.C.C., but the appeals committee reduced the ban to one game.

This meant that his offence then only applied to hurling, as it occurred in a Junior hurling game, making him available for all football commitments.

Notwithstanding all of this, it's the under-age tournament incident that is causing real embarrassment for Wexford G.A.A.

This allegedly happened in one of the most prestigious competitions for teenagers in the country, but Wexford's handling of their squad has now led them to Croke Park.

It is alleged that a player sent-off in an earlier game was then played in subsequent games wearing a different number jersey on each occasion, and this led to Wexford G.A.A. officials being hauled before the Croke Park authorities.

Pat Doherty from Westmeath chaired the committee at headquarters on Tuesday night of last week where he heard submissions from the Wexford delegation comprised of the team management along with Derek Kent, County Chairman.

It is understood that Croke Park took a serious view of the actions of Wexford G.A.A., with their committee members making their feelings known having heard the various submissions.

Later that week the young player in the middle of the saga was exonerated and cleared to assist his club in a county final, and rightly so, but one is still at a loss as to what penalties, if any, are pending for the adults involved.

It's still quite clear that the clubs and parents of the players involved in this whole affair want their names cleared, and those responsible dealt with severely for a course of action that has brought embarrassment on the association in the county.

I have dealt elsewhere with the decision to withdraw the Under-16 football academy squad from a prestigious tournament due to budgetary reasons according the team management, and this has led to heartbreak for the players and management who have been preparing for many months.

'I firmly believe the work of the academies is being undermined. I also firmly believe that is the motive behind this decision,' team manager Peter Grannell told this newspaper.

'I'm very disappointed for the lads involved. Parents have contacted me expressing their shock and disappointment at the decision.'

'Our budget was not increased, because two additional squads were pulling out of it.

'Our budget was €9,000 and we spent about €6,500,' the disappointed manager added.

Taking all of these matters into account, it would appear that the massive over-reliance on delegation of responsibility is coming back to haunt Wexford G.A.A.

Wexford People

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