Thursday 17 October 2019

Choice words as County Board meets

IT may have been the mix of anger and frustration at the county's failure to secure a Sports Grant under the Government's allocation - but the colourful language had no place at a meeting of Wexford G.A.A. Board.

In the sweltering heat of a packed room, temperatures rose during the discussion on the Sports Grant allocations and the G.A.A's failure to secure an allocation - although it's believed they had sought a figure in the region of €600,000 to carry out completion works on the Ferns Centre of Excellence.

The County Chairman outlined details regarding the Sports Grant allocation, expressing regret at their failure to secure monies but still being big enough to acknowledge the huge allocations which clubs in the county received, for which he thanked the various ministers. He felt that if the county had received their grant there would have been little to spread through the clubs, acknowledging that perhaps it's for the betterment of the Association in the county that the clubs were recognised in this manner.

But St. Mary's (Maudlintown) club delegate James Flood was not one for handing out plaudits or admiration. Instead he linked the county's failure to secure a grant with the supposed leakage of information to this paper and the fact we were in a position to highlight the fact that the county's failure was because the application was deemed 'invalid'.

In a bitter charge at the top table he linked our story (as he believed) to a person or people, claiming in a verbal bombardment they were 'snitches' and 'rats'.

During the debate, which for most part was amicable, the meeting was still left stunned when Leinster Council delegate, Derek Kent, chose an unfavourable line to describe the story on the grant written by myself in this paper, despite being backed up by Minister Paul Kehoe, saying 'what appeared in the paper was horses...e'.

We are proud sponsors of Coiste na nOg in the county, and take great pride in the vast coverage which we allocate to the G.A.A. and its happenings each week, but to be charged in such a manner by a high-ranking officer of the County Board is totally unacceptable and irresponsible on his part.

What those people fail to acknowledge is that County Board meetings carry a high standard of credibility. I am speaking going back through years of coverage. But the credibility of the meeting was seriously taken into disrepute by these speakers with their colourful phrases which shed no light on the reality of the situation.

Shelmaliers Chairman, Seamus O'Leary, acknowledged the accuracy and factual content of the articles but felt that the G.A.A. was washing its dirty linen in public. Given the challenges facing his own club he should understand where this journalist was coming from, but this wasn't the case.

To put the record straight there was no leakage, no snitches or rats as was claimed.

When the Department of Sports announced the grants I went onto the Department website, drew down the allocations for each county, and trawled the Wexford allocations to find no grant for Wexford G.A.A., although I must acknowledge my delight to see how other sporting organisations were recognised in the county.

Following this I contacted Minister Paul Kehoe who issued me with a statement outlining the details, stating that the form was invalid, while Chairman Diarmuid Devereux was then contacted and issued a quote expressing his disappointment.

But the manner in which the two speakers offered their ill-founded words was shocking. The language was unwelcome. It signalled a low standard in high places but thankfully they were the isolated few. Over the last two weeks we in Wexford have seen what the G.A.A. public want as they came out to support our hurlers in their thousands. That is what all of us are working for, to have more of these days.

Perhaps those two delegates should now consider their positions as they have no place in Wexford G.A.A.

Thankfully it was not all negative on the night. Plaudits to Ger Carthy who gave a professional presentation on the Ferns Centre of Excellence. That is how it should be.

Finally, a big congratulations to our hurlers. You did us proud once again. Birthday wishes to that marvellous talent, Conor McDonald, who is 19 today (Tuesday).

Enniscorthy Guardian