WEXFORD'S FOOTBALL adventure will get under way in early January with the new-look O'Byrne Cup competition. New manager Aidan O'Brien has his backroom team in place and is already drawing up plans - but it will not be lost on him that it's time to blood new players.
Given the experience that he brings to the task in hand, he will not be conservative in his thinking. One realises how difficult a squad selection can be but he will be damned if he fails to bring change and damned in other quarters if he embarks down an entirely new road with the introduction of many of the Under-21 players of the past two seasons.
No doubt his hand will be forced when it comes to many players and what they can contribute to the 2013 campaign. But this is the right time to take a punt on youth, freshen up the squad and create more competition for places, which he will be hoping to achieve without the loss of too much experience in the side. Now is the time to promote new players by introducing them for the O'Byrne Cup campaign which has to be taken seriously given that they commence life in a difficult Division 2 league campaign in February. These battle lines, once introduced in January, will serve the side well when the league comes around over the following months.
Wexford would have to be disappointed at their failure to make a worthwhile breakthrough over the past five years. The only silverware to come their way was a Division 3 league title which they failed to achieve this year, losing out to Longford in the final, while they also suffered at the hands of Dublin in the provincial final.
While he will be anxious not to rush young players, many of those who played at Under-21 level over the last two seasons are now ready to step up to the top grade. Other counties, such as Dublin, have utilised players from both Minor and Under-21 sides, while there's always a steady stream of players from those grades with the leading football counties.
There's a real issue in Wexford. For some reason they failed to take advantage of those two fine Under-21 sides. Our succession planning leaves a lot to be desired. Wexford football has issues but one is confident that Aidan O'Brien and his backroom set-up will address those over the coming months.
My hope is that this is the start of something new from Aidan O'Brien's Wexford. But they must win the battle and maintain their Division 2 status. It's going to be difficult but it's crucial for the future progress of Wexford football.
Now that we are entering the silly season it's annual general meeting time for the clubs of the county. Club officers and members will gather in their local centres to discuss the happenings of 2012 and where it went right or for the majority where it all went wrong.
It's what one would call a gathering of the die-hards but in these stringent times the annual general meeting has become more important than ever. While finance will be a major topic given the considerable expense to run a club, the election of various officers should take on huge importance, as it's with these that the future of the club is entrusted.
We will deal with the issues facing clubs over the coming weeks.