Weak minor ranks concerns Waterford official

A LEADING Waterford GAA official has warned that while hurling and football remain in good shape to face the future, the loss of so many young players who have participated at juvenile level and then fade away is a cause for serious concern.

In his report to tomorrow night’s annual convention of the West Waterford Board, secretary Anthony Walsh says that despite the extraordinary volume of work being done at underage level, they are losing more and more young players who never progress even to the minor ranks.

“The number of minor teams in our division has actually declined in modern times,” he says, “and unless the trend is arrested, and quickly, the future of the games will be far from secure.

“With so many other influences at work, and enticing demands being made on our youth, the task of persevering with the promotion and development of the national games has never been more demanding.”

Mr Walsh added they can no longer can expect young people to play hurling and football just because they are part of their national heritage.

They must continue to make the games appealing and competitive, and it is no longer enough simply to trot out the line that their games are best.

“That alone,” he adds, “won’t win over the continuing loyalty of today’s youth.”

Mr Walsh renews his appeal of 12 months ago for new refereeing recruits when he warned that because of a shortage of referees their whole league and championship programmes might grind to a halt.

“Happily the situation has improved since last year, but more referees are urgently required,” he says.

For the first time in many years none of the officerships will be contested, with the entire executive committee being returned unopposed.

The lone contest possibility was for the vice chairman but Pat Grant, who was elected County Board Na nOg chairman last night, has con firmed he will not be challenging outgoing official Tom Cunningham.

Meanwhile in a year of record expenditure, treasurer Eddie Cunningham will be reporting another profitable year for the board with income outstripping expenditure by more than 4,500, leaving the board in its most financially viable state for a very long time.

The executive committee assured of another term in office is:

Chairman Paddy Walsh(Colligan/Emmetts); Vice chairman Tom Cunningham(Stradbally); Secretary Anthony Walsh (Colligan/Emmetts); Assistant do Pat Grant (Fourmilewater/Nire); Treasurer Eddie Cunningham (Tallow); Registrar Seamas O’Brien (Abbeyside/Ballinacourty); County Board representatives (3), John Lyons (Tallow), Tomas O’Cadhla (Ring), Paddy Walsh (Fourmilewater/Nire).

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