Numbers on the up
Participation levels continue to grow
The AGM of Athletics Wexford was held in The Bailey, Enniscorthy, on Wednesday, with a large attendance present from the 17 clubs based in the county.
Matters arising from the E.G.M. held in June regarded a motion to hold county championship events outside Wexford in exceptional circumstances, if no suitable venue were available for specific events. It was agreed to rescind the motion due to issues with the validity of the vote at the E.G.M., following clarifications from Athletics Ireland.
Outgoing Treasurer, Eamonn Owens, remarked that income for 2014 was once again up with a continued rise in gate receipts for all championship events, in particular the Senior track and field.
Gate receipts accurately reflected the continuing growth surge in cross-country over the last number of years.
There was less expenditure than anticipated incurred on development committee activities, due to the support of the Athletics Ireland development budget in paying for coaching development workshops.
There was no significant outlay on new equipment during 2014 either, with almost €19,000 worth of equipment now owned by the County Board.
Main sponsors, Wexford Creamery, were thanked for the significant contribution they make towards supporting athletics in the county.
County Secretary, Jane Porter, noted the increase in membership, which was once again up 22% in 2014 to 1,796, with 17 clubs affiliated to the County Board.
This figure is more than double the national 10% increase, demonstrating a huge growth in Wexford compared to other areas.
She pointed out that while there was a good increase in Junior memberships, it was still quite low, while Juvenile membership increased by 23%.
Outgoing track and field Secretary, Helena Hore, circulated a very comprehensive set of results from both the Juvenile 'A' and 'B' and Senior championships.
She remarked that 2014 was a year of positive developments and progress in athletics in Wexford, in particular the new sportshall athletics competition and the further progression of the summer development camp.
The Juvenile 'A' championships saw a total of 356 compete on day one in New Ross and 322 competitors in Kilmore on the second day, with all 15 Juvenile clubs represented.
The significant growth of the Senior championships saw 121 athletes compete on the first night at Enniscorthy Sports Hub with 110 competitors on the second night, including those in the Novice and Master grades.
There were a total of 13 clubs participating with five guests also competing, two from outside of Co. Wexford.
Back in 2012 there was a total of 70 Senior competitors overall, so the numbers for the year past are an extremely positive reflection on track and field at this level.
Helena referred to the continued success of the 'B' championships, where the breakthrough made in 2013 was sustained. She detailed a figure of 163 participants from all the Juvenile clubs, three times the figure that it was two years previously.
She applauded the involvement of the Athletics Association of Ireland's Regional Development Officer, Colin Byrne, who was a huge support to the County Board, especially in running the summer development camp which saw 90 Juveniles from 12 clubs receive specialised coaching.
She pointed out that the host clubs contribute a lot to the organisation of track and field events and when the championships move to Enniscorthy Sports Hub this year, there will need to be a review of how the events are organised by the County Board, in the absence of a host club.
The county cross-country and road race Secretary, John Moore, said that he was very happy with the standard of competition in 2014 and the continued increase in the numbers participating, remarking on the surge in Novices who ran in John F. Kennedy Park in particular.
Having visited many of the Senior clubs prior to the season, to encourage their athletes to enter, he found this had been a worthwhile exercise.
On the downside he once again voiced his disappointment to the commitment demonstrated by Senior men to competing at Leinster and National events and representing Wexford.
He thanked all the clubs and the landowners who hosted road race and cross-country championships over the past year and looked forward to continued co-operation with the clubs during the coming year.
In her P.R.O. report, Marie Louise Byrne detailed the statistics for usage of the website and social media channels, including the new app.
She pointed out that many clubs P.R.O's are now feeding news directly to the local media, who were very supportive, and how the team of club P.R.O's have further developed their system of reporting, resulting in weekly press coverage and a good online communication system.
Timely publishing of results is crucial however, and she thanked the team from around the clubs who have willingly taken on the responsibility of feeding in results, photographs and reports.
She talked of the need for increased radio coverage, building on a well-developed 'brand' loyalty to Athletics Wexford and now linking promotional opportunity to corporate partnerships.
She also pointed out that the County Board is open to new ideas and expertise that would bring added promotional value to events coverage, such as commentary, blogs and video clips.
County Chairman, Paddy Morgan, stated that on a personal level his most notable moments of 2014 included the first night of Senior track and field competition on the track in Enniscorthy which had a fantastic, electric atmosphere and some excellent competitions on an historic occasion.
He was particularly happy with the success of our athletes now winning medals at national cross-country championships and with teams going forward to national also after a number of years without any success over the distances.
His major disappointment was that the throwers of Wexford did not have a county championship event.
He thanked the team of officers who had worked so hard during the year and the workers from around the clubs who had made massive contributions to the development of initiatives such as the post-primary schools cross-country, which was a major success.
He commented on the need to develop the coaching skills within the county and pointed out that the issue of sponsorship was priority for the coming year.
President, Toddy Moore (Kilmore); Vice-President, Nicky Cowman (St. Killian's); Chairman, Paddy Morgan (Kilmore); Vice-Chairperson, Michelle Byrne (Macamores); Secretary, Jane Porter (Slaney Olympic); Track and Field Secretary, position vacant; Cross-Country and Road Secretary, John Moore (Kilmore); Treasurer, Emmett Malone (United Striders); P.R.O., Marie Louise Byrne (Adamstown); Leinster delegates: Mick Byrne (Croghan), Jimmy O'Neill (Menapians).
Athlete of the month selection committee
Paul Murphy (Slaney Olympic), Paddy Morgan (Kilmore), Pat Carty (Enniscorthy), Jim Corcoran (Bree), Michael Farrell (D.M.P.).
County development committee
Linda Rodgers (United Striders), Nicky Cowman (St. Killian's), Helena Hore (Taghmon), Eamonn Owens (St. Paul's), Elizabeth Egan (Bree), Michelle Byrne (Macamores), Fiona Kehoe (Kilmore), Eamonn Whelan (Bree).
Amongst the motions passed were the introduction of a county 'B' cross-country event; the increase in numbers to score in teams of Novice, Intermediate and Senior from three to four in road races and cross-country; a number of restrictions on the granting of race permits and the ability of the County Board to hold county championship events outside the county in exceptional circumstances.
A full copy of updated by-laws and recommendations will be distributed to all clubs within the next weeks and a fixtures meeting will take place in the Forge in Crossabeg within two weeks.
Clubs are reminded that their affiliation fee to Athletics Wexford, which includes the cost of affiliation to Leinster, is now due and payments can be made to Emmett Malone.
All clubs have been affiliated to Leinster, with fees paid, as of January 7.