Monday 24 July 2017

45-point loss a 'wake-up call' for Wicklow

Wicklow county chairman Martin Coleman. Photo: Sportsfile
Wicklow county chairman Martin Coleman. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Wicklow's 45-point defeat by Meath in the Leinster Minor Hurling Championship should act as "a wake-up call" to everyone who wants the game to develop in the county.

The Royal humiliation (10-22 to 0-7) was delivered in Arklow last Saturday and came exactly a year after Wicklow lost to Westmeath by 31 points.

It has led to criticisms within Wicklow of how underage hurling is administered, with questions being raised as to whether there's any genuine interest beyond a small, dedicated hardcore.

The humiliating defeat was discussed by the County Board Management Committee on Monday night and it's now planned to consult with clubs in an effort to chart a better way forward.

Allegiance

"We'll have dialogue with the clubs and see where we're going. I felt sorry for the lads last Saturday. They worked hard and did their best but Meath were just too good," said Wicklow county chairman Martin Coleman.

Players from dual clubs giving allegiance to football is an issue in a county where playing resources are limited. Coleman said that it was difficult for players to commit to both codes and hurling tended to lose out.

Despite the setbacks, there is no question of Wicklow not fielding in the Leinster Minor Championship.

"There's a lot of work going on with development squads and we'd be very hopeful that there will be an improvement at minor level over the next few years," said Coleman.

"Only five of last Saturday's team are 18-year-olds so we were playing an unusually high number of 17-year-olds, which made things harder.

"We now need to sit down with the clubs and other interested parties and see how we can improve things for next year."

Irish Independent

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