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'It's disappointing for counties trying their damnedest to promote the game'

Wicklow’s Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U21 B hurling championship win didn’t merit a mention on The Sunday Game.

Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

WICKLOW GAA CHAIRMAN Martin Coleman is leading the criticism of The Sunday Game after the Garden County’s historic Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U21 hurling championship win was overlooked last night. 

Wicklow beat Meath by two points at Semple Stadium on Saturday to win the competition for the very first time.

But it wasn’t deemed worthy of a mention on the highlights show, prompting this response from Wicklow GAA’s official Twitter account:

Coleman is “disappointed” that the show failed to reference the success of Jonathan ‘Bosco’ O’Neill’s boys in Thurles.

“It’s disappointing,” he told The42 this morning.

“All week and for the last ten days there was advertising about the U21 finals but the only teams mentioned were Wexford and Limerick.”

When asked why this was the case, Coleman replied: “I just don’t know. Maybe people in Croke Park should be asked that and people in the media.

Robert Fitzgerald, Emmet Byrne and Luke Maloney celebrate Wicklow players celebrate at the final whistle. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“For the weaker counties like Wicklow trying their damnedest to promote the game, it doesn’t help.

“To get to an All-Ireland final, for Wicklow, is a major talking point in the county for weeks.

“To win it and get no recognition for it is disappointing for the players and management who have put in the work all year.

“It’s also disappointing for our followers and that’s it saying about the B championship?

“It would seem that it doesn’t matter. It’s not getting the advertising or media exposure.”

Manager O’Neill pulled the curtain down on his intercounty playing career after 23 years this summer but the Glenealy man then guided the U21s to an historic win.

Mick O'Dwyer and Martin Coleman County board chairman Martin Coleman (right) was a former senior football team selector alongside Mick O'Dwyer. Source: James Crombie

And Coleman is confident that the successful U21s can form the backbone of a new senior team.

“Our senior team was coming to an end, with a lot of the older players who have given great service over the years stepping down.

“We’re in a rebuilding process and this win will help that rebuild, and give the players involved in that panel the confidence to go on.

“And it was a very young U21 panel – nine are available again next year.

“To win an All-Ireland for Wicklow is a great achievement and hopefully we can build on that but we need the help of everybody to promote the game.

“There’s a great opportunity for people in the Association to build the game in Wicklow and Meath.

“Meath are in the same situation as ourselves – trying to build the game in a football-oriented county.”

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