Sunday 17 December 2017

It's time for complete change at Wicklow county board level

The Michael Neary view

THE CLOSING date for nominations for the 2013 Wicklow GAA County Board closes this coming Friday, November 2 at 5.30pm. I understand there are a number of important vacant positions to be filled including county chairman, vice chairman, treasurer and Irish officer.

In my column at times I have been somewhat critical of the some of the workings of the current county executive. I feel it is now time for change.

Every club in the county has the opportunity to nominate suitable individuals for all positions. The county needs strong leadership and hopefully whoever fills the position of chairman will oversee a new and improved direction for all areas of the Association.

The new chairman will have to be passionate and independent and at times will have to make hard and unpopular decisions. Why in Wicklow do we never seem to attract new candidates? Is it because everything is tied up in the current regime and they feel their voices won't be heard?

Or are clubs just happy with a county board that provides them with meaningful competition and games?

Obviously in a lot of cases this year this did not happen. I would personally like to see a review of the total workings of the CCC. I think it's important to have a clearer separation of powers within the county board, i.e. referees should not be members of the CCC which in my opinion gives rise to a conflict of interests; also the top positions shouldn't be held by one club as is currently the case.

I strongly believe that in a football dominant county the position of vice chairman should be held by a hurling person and this person would have responsibility for hurling matters in the county.

This is currently the case in Kerry where it works extremely well. It would also allow the county board greater time to deal with football and other matters if a hurling brief was given to the vice chairman. This revised position could also lend greater support to the hurling officer within the county. This would be a win/win situation for all. At this time of the year there is always great interest amongst GAA folk to see who makes the hurling and football All Star teams. Usually each year there are one or two surprises. However, this year there is greater controversy surrounding the selection of the hurling team.

I feel that ever since RTE's Sunday Game programme began to name their own teams of the year this has highlighted their chosen 15 in each code and has given greater exposure to certain players especially those who may not have been automatic selections.

The big talking points in hurling this year were the omissions of Jackie Tyrrell, Tommy Walsh and Johnny Coen and the remarkable emergence of Cork's sub-goalkeeper, Anthony Nash, as the All Star keeper for 2012.

It was unusual for Galway, the defeated finalists, to receive more All Stars than the convincing winners on the day, Kilkenny. This undoubtedly has led to questioning the omission of Tyrrell and Walsh.

With regard to the football selection there were far less contentious issues and Donegal were worthy recipients of a magnificent eight All Stars.

With Wicklow reaching the Christy Ring fnal they were entitled to three Christy Ring All Stars and the 2012 recipients Eamonn Kearns, Ronan Keddy and Jonathan (Bosco) O'Neill were all worthy winners. Both Ronan and Eamonn worked tirelessly and effectively at midfield throughout their whole campaign while Bosco was Wicklow's standout forward all year.

When the scoring threat of Andy O'Brien and Enan Glynn were restricted this year Bosco stepped into the breach to set up and take some vital scores. His free taking was also faultless.

A player, I feel, who would have pushed the three lads for an award was John Henderson. For his first year playing senior inter county it was an impressive one.

His first touch, his tackling ability and his balance on the ball was a huge plus to a sometimes under pressure defence. With lots of years ahead of him I'm sure it won't be long before he starts his Christy Ring All Star collection.

I personally would like to see the Christy Ring All Stars selected in similar fashion to the main All Stars with players being selected from each playing position 1 to 15.

With the improved media attention attached to this competition I would like to see the GAA select a panel consisting of of GAA journalists, former inter county players and managers from the competing teams.

This panel could attend games, rate the players and at the end of the competition select a team on the basis of players' performances throughout.

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