Emigration batters

Rural clubs continue to be battered by emigration and communities are struggling to retain their identity, County Board secretary, Jimmy Walsh suggests in his first annual report which he will deliver to Convention.

Rural clubs continue to be battered by emigration and communities are struggling to retain their identity, County Board secretary, Jimmy Walsh suggests in his first annual report which he will deliver to Convention.

Mr Walsh, who has experienced the difficulties at first hand in his own Windgap club, said the amount of players leaving Ireland continued to impact most severely on rural clubs where the retention of a parish identity through numbers, rather than skill levels, is a major concern.

“The long term effects of centralisation to urban areas, and the cost of regular travelling from the major cities, allied to less flexible work arrangements in a tighter jobs market are also a concern,” he says.

“In rural and urban areas a long term view and a fine balance will have to be struck to prevent some talented players being over played, whilest others and their future families may be lost to the game from lack of sufficient competitive activity.”

Mr Walsh feels a review of the roles of the North and South Boards is required under rule now that almost all competitions are of an All County Nature.

And after going through a “huge learning curve” in his first year in office, he suggests: “It is imperative that the next post holders that arrive under the five year term should have the benefit of being phased in by a shadowing system to learn the ropes for at least a year in advance.”