independent

Thursday 24 April 2014

Three names thrown into the election ring

Fourth candidate still to make decision

THREE OF the five nominees for chairman of Wicklow GAA County Board are contesting the election at convention while a fourth has yet to make up his mind on whether to stand or not.

The fifth nominee, Martin Fitzgerald, Annacurra, is not standing for the chair, but will go head-to-head with Damien Byrne, Kiltegan for the vice-chairmanship.

The three - aspiring to be the future chairman who will be going before the convention delegates - are Martin Coleman, Baltinglass; Pat Lawless, Ashford, who has the experience of serving as county chairman previously, and Des Burton from Aughrim.

Liam McGraynor, Bray, says that he will give his decision on whether to stand later in the week.

Canvassing is now on in earnest and people up close and whispering in each other's ear that we talked about some weeks back were quite evident at the weekend matches in Aughrim.

Even now we can give you the winners - they are the mobile phone companies and the ESB with phone lines buzzing across the county from east to west and back again, and people burning the midnight oil to nail down those vital votes, these two companies are sure to hit the financial jackpot over the next two weeks. On to other GAA matters now and as the domestic competition season draws ever nearer to a close, our thoughts turn to 2013 and what the New Year may bring.

Harry Murphy has the challenge of a higher league division for his footballers while they will start the Leinster championship with a home game against Longford, who have been known to cause us grief in crucial matches in the past.

So neither league nor championship is going to be easy for Harry and his men who will be aiming to consolidate their place in division three, thus avoiding dropping back to basement football in division four.

That task is not going to be made any less demanding by the fact he has lost three of the 2012 squad - Hollywood's Tony Hannon has retired from inter-county football, Baltinglass' Peadar Burke and Bray's Niall Gaffney have emigrated to Australia and America respectively - but on the plus side we hear that Harry has assemble a squad of 43 players to kick off the new year, with eight of them from county champions St. Patrick's.

A further piece of good news is that the County GAA Board has got planning permission for a new and much larger spectator stand at Aughrim, which will extend from one 20 metre line to the other 20 metre line on the road side of the pitch.

However work on the new stand is not expected to start until after the Longford match as work would impinge greatly on crowd capacity for that game.

A win over Longford would give Wicklow another home match against Meath, but it is though unlikely that Leinster Council would allow that match to be played at Aughrim as they would feel Aughrim would not be able to cater for the crowd for such a high profile Leinster championship game.

To increase the crowd capacity for the future, hence the need for a new enlarged stand at the county ground.

Wicklow have a reasonably good draw in the 2013 league with four of their seven matches at home and that includes Meath and Cavan as well as Fermanagh and Antrim, giving us the chance of picking up valuable points. We are away to Roscommon, Monaghan and Sligo. Division 3 fixtures for Wicklow are: Sunday, February 3: Wicklow v. Fermanagh February 10: Wicklow v. Meath. March 3: Roscommon v. Wicklow March 10: Wicklow v. Antrim Saturday, March 16: Monaghan v. Wicklow Sunday, March 24: Wicklow v. Cavan April 7: Sligo v. Wicklow

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