ST. MARY'S (Rosslare) have yet to decide upon entering teams at adult level in both hurling and football after last week's shocking revelations.
What a difference seven days can make. Many will say that a week is a long time in politics, but the publicity surrounding St. Mary's plight, exclusively revealed in last week's paper, has seen a dramatic change in the landscape of the club.
On Friday night the club held an emergency meeting, with all past and present members emailed requesting their attendance. There was a sizeable attendance in response to the e-mail which recommended that all personality issues be left outside the door. But now, even at this late period, the club is still unsure as to its future.
Club Secretary Paul Murphy said on Monday: 'we are not one hundred per cent sure at the moment but we feel that we will have a team. We have another meeting tonight (Monday) when we will look at numbers. We have to make a decision by Wednesday and have teams entered. That's the County Board deadline'.
The club has been making considerable usage of texts and e-mails over recent weeks as they tried to pull themselves off the ground, and seven days previously they had been in contact with Our Lady's Island seeking an amalgamation of the clubs at adult level. They are already joined with Our Lady's Island/St. Fintan's at Juvenile and Minor level.
Whether their amalgamation proposal was a moment of panic or desperation after only a handful had attended their Annual General Meeting, one will never know, but it did suggest that they had arrived at the conclusion that they would be unable to field teams in Intermediate hurling and football.
Friday night's meeting was a last desperate effort to save the club from oblivion, a situation that would have left the parish without G.A.A. affiliation for the very first time. The meeting unanimously decided they would try to enter both Intermediate hurling and football teams. The heat is off for the moment, but now the real work begins, to ensure they can compete in the All-County League, where groupings are being run side by side with the county championships.
But their dramatic ' u-turn' has not been lost on the Our Lady's Island club, who now feel somewhat disillusioned at being hauled into the whole issue of amalgamation. They are clearly annoyed that seven days after their rejection of the amalgamation proposals that St. Mary's, after much publicity, have decided they now feel they may have sufficient players to enter at adult level after all.
As one Our Lady's Island source put it: 'we feel as if we were used in this whole debacle. They sought us out seeking amalgamation but when their plight was highlighted in 'The People' newspaper, having been rejected by us, within seven days they feel that they have enough players for both hurling and football sides.
'With St. Mary's latest decision we feel vindicated in Our Lady's Island at rejecting the amalgamation bid. Perhaps like under-age they were looking at the easy option of amalgamation, but there must be uncertainty for their players given the manner in which this whole affair was handled by St. Mary's.'
Given the changing times, clubs in the county have had to move with the times that we live in, and increase their effort with the youth of the parish. This has brought significant results in the majority of clubs but it's an area where St. Mary's fell down.
The club failed to market what a great product hurling and football is with the youth of Rosslare parish through the schools and ultimately the club itself. They failed to look at how other clubs achieved their goals, while the option of amalgamation at under-age level is a defeatist attitude which leaves the club without a distinctive underage structure.
The three primary schools in the parish cater for 286 boys. This is an untapped market by the club and their failure to develop these boys through Under-12 and Under-14 age groups has seen the majority lost to Gaelic games, opting instead for other sports, including soccer and rugby.
Once a club enters into amalgamation the local future is seldom looked at. The ideal scenario for St. Mary's is to enter into a five-year under-age plan in order to regain the parish identity. This is a must for the club to have a future as failure will only see the struggle for survival continue.
Over the past few weeks there must have been much hurt in Rosslare at the developments taking place. Perhaps time would have mellowed the hurt, but the lines have been drawn thick and fast since last week's publication of their plight, clearly showing a huge divide within the club.
The coming months will be watched with interest. This is the most crucial period in the history of the St. Mary's club.