Thursday, 22nd March 2018
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What"s another year?

As we close the door to 2017 the Waterford County Board held the Annual Convention in Lawlor's Hotel last week to a packed house. The Board through the club levy has successfully negated the huge outstanding debt that had accrued over the years and returned a healthy profit of over €30000. This allied to the fact that the cost of preparing intercounty teams came in a "tad" shy of nine hundred thousand euro makes it all the more staggering. County chairman PaddyJoe Ryan said later in his address that the levy, which clubs had supported when requested by the Board, had now been put on hold but we must not "take our eye off the ball". Well done to the clubs for their magnificent effort.

I think it is also fair to point out that this kind of cost is not just isolated cases as it is coming up time and again at conventions throughout the land. Indeed some County Conventions report that the cost of fielding teams is well in excess of the one million barrier. One wonders where it will end. That said the burning ambition to win Sam Maguire or Liam McCarthy remains as "driven" as ever. However in the pursuit of National honours something/someone must suffer and unfortunately it is the club player. It was a huge disappointment that the Senior Football champions, Stradbally, were unable to fulfill their Provincial commitment due to the fact that the football championship, like the hurling, was deferred as the Waterford Senior Hurlers progressed to the All-Ireland final. Like all supporters I would love to see the Liam McCarthy Cup cross over the Suir for the first time since that unforgettable 1959 victory but I pose the question though "how do we accommodate both county and club players in hurling and football without either feeling that they are not been given the opportunity of fulfilling their ambition?". Mind you, the suspension of games also did not help Ballygunner's cause in their pursuit of Provincial glory as the Knockboy outfit were forced to play week on week throughout the latter stages of their domestic campaign to secure their place in the Munster Championship. Surely fatigue played a factor in the final analysis.

I don't for one minute wish to get into an argument but we seem be at a crossroads not just here but throughout the country. If a player is on the county panel there is no doubt but he will not be available to his club unless allowed by the county manager. Where does that leave the club player. I suggest we will have a huge problem stopping them going abroad or turning to other sports for the Summer months. How do we attain a happy medium between promoting our games and success. May seem controversial but I deliberately put "promoting our games" first. Perhaps one must be achieved before the other.

The intercounty scene facilitates approximately 3% of the total playing numbers and yet Croke Park in their wisdom "tinker" with the championship to give clubs and their players the month of April to get the domestic championship underway. Does Headquarters really believe that intercounty managers will allow their players to play competitive games for their club in April with a championship just around the corner. Get wise. I will concede that the high profile intercounty games generate huge finance for Croke Park but that can also come at a price for a County Board. Waterford GAA County Chairman Paddy Joe Ryan made that very point in his convention address when he said that both the

County Senior Hurling and Football finals saw a reduced attendance this year. Perhaps many had outspent their budget attending the high profile games. There is only a certain amount of disposable income. Stradbally GAA have put forward a motion on restructuring the championship, and County Board at the appropriate meeting will most likely see much debate. Lat's wait and see what comes of it.

PaddyJoe Ryan opened his thirtheenth Convention address by welcoming the clubs and immediately stressed the importance of each unit supporting the now well established Deise Draw. This has been a financial lifeline for the clubs and a number of speakers later reitertated that it has also gone much of the way towards allowing clubs to develop their facilities. These facilities will be there for generations to come.

In a wide ranging report which I will review in the next issue, the chairman said that the shortage of referees was worrying but with the help of the clubs we can bring new "whistlers" into the game. However we must also treat all referees with the respect they deserve when officiating at games.

Convention returned all outgoing officers with Paddy Joe Ryan again at the helm in 2018.


A reminder to all that the Waterford GAA 2018 club season tickets are now available. These can be purchased from Elvery's Waterford City and Dungarvan,  GAA offices Keanes Road Waterford and David Walsh's Dungarvan. The cost is Adult €130 and OAP €80.

Congratulations to both Caithriona McGlone Lismore, Munster Intermediate Camogie Champions and Seamus Prendergast Ardmore, Munster Junior Hurling Champions who were both honoured with WLR/Granville Hotel award for November and December respectively.

Nollaig Shona agud ath-bliain faoi mhaise dhaoibh go leir.


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