Wexford and St Martin's star Rory O'Connor. Bryan Keane/INPHO
Club v County

'The criticism outside the county was created on the back of an inaccurate anonymous letter'

Wexford county board have confirmed they won’t announce dates for the club championships until the GAA releases its inter-county schedule.

OF ALL THE club structures mooted in recent weeks, it was the provisional format of the Wexford SHC that became the focal point for the looming club versus county conflict.

The proposed completion date of 23 August – with the football championship to commence after the hurling semi-finals – sparked much debate in the national media.

It would have meant the championship would be run off in less than four weeks, while there were suggestions the county hurlers won’t play club football championship to focus on Wexford’s return to training.

But the addition of quarter-finals into the Wexford SHC and SFC formats means the hurling is likely to conclude a week later at the earliest.

Wexford vice chairman Micheál Martin said that no dates had been confirmed yet and the county board were waiting for the GAA to release its inter-county schedule before doing so. 

“The first thing is there were never any dates confirmed and that was explicitly stated at the county board meeting last week,” Martin told Wexford Today.

“That no dates could be confirmed until first of all we have a national fixtures plan to know when our inter-county teams could be out.

“For example we were working an asumption last week that we could be playing a knock-out Leinster first round (game) on 17 October. We don’t think that will be the case now so that influences our thinking.

“The second thing is we still don’t know the roadmap from the government. We’re in a degree of uncertainty still in terms of spectators, the fact we’re in still in the middle of a pandemic – I think some people have lost sight of that.

“And that roadmap needs to be given clearance the whole way through to ensure that we can play games. So no dates have been confirmed and we won’t be able to confirm dates until we get those details. Hopefully that will be as soon as possible.”

Asked about the widespread criticism of Wexford’s plan to hold the senior hurling championship first before proceeding to the football equivalent, Martin said: “There was some national media criticism in pariticular and probably more outside the county than inside, though we’re aware obviously that it created a lot of debate within the county.

“I think the debate inside the county was fair, the criticism outside the county was first of all created on the back of an innacurate anonymous letter that was a social media campaign to some degree and was then picked up on by national media.

“I would say it wasn’t balanced in that the dates that were widely quoted were never accurate, we never confirmed. We are looking in our draft format at playing a block of hurling and a block of football, and the overwhelming majority of county delegates last week supported that.

“I think you have to be from Wexford to understand our particular fixture programme and many of those who commented were from outside the county who have no understanding of the fact we are a pure dual county. The vast majority of our players would be significant players on their hurling and football teams.

“I think Lee Chin was quoted yesterday as saying he’d be playing football right up until whenever Sarsfields are knocked out of the football context. I’d say 12 of the starting 15 of our hurling team would be in a similar boat.

“And 80 to 85% of our senior hurling squad would be playing and be the main players on their football squads this year. That point was very much lost in the national criticism and was based on an inaccurate, anonymous letter that was spurious to be honest.”

He confirmed quarter-finals will be held in the club championships and there will be promotion but no relegation from competitions. The losers of the first round club games will face-off in the second game to avoid any dead rubbers.

The championship draws will take place on Monday at 4pm and will be livestreamed on Wexford GAA’s social media platforms.

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