Chairman Paddy Morgan presided over a well-attended AGM of Athletics Wexford at The Athenaeum in Enniscorthy last Wednesday. In reflecting on what has been another good year for Wexford athletics Paddy mentioned the success of the county’s Senior athletes in T&F, both indoors and out. He expressed his delight that Co Wexford Men won Division One and, as a result, will compete this year in the Premier Division along with the county women’s team and Menapians. He spoke of the success of Wexford’s juvenile and junior athletes on the national stage with a small but strong contingent going on to perform, and medal, at the Celtic International Games. Underage athletes had great cross country success in 2017 with individual medals at Leinster and National levels. The U14 Boys county team won Silver medals at Nationals while the all-conquering United Striders U14 boys won club team Gold. Wexford’s Masters athletes had another good year in 2017 winning medals at the European Masters and at international cross country level.
Noting that membership is on the up and up, presently standing at 1916 – an increase of 61% in two years, the Chairman said that while this is to be welcomed it brings additional challenges when it comes to organising events. He also said that we must not lose sight of the need for athlete development. Indeed, the Development Committee came under the spotlight with its purpose and effectiveness been questioned. The current workload of those running Athletics Wexford is undoubtedly a factor. The Chairman gave a commitment that he would prioritise the area of athlete development in the year ahead.
He thanked all clubs, officials and individuals who helped with events in the past year. He singled out Padraig Kelly and Paul Gibbons for their help in processing and writing up results. Indeed Padraig, while not on the committee, has been selfless with his time at county, provincial and national levels.
In thanking his fellow officers Paddy reserved a special word of gratitude for outgoing Secretary Linda Rogers. He was especially appreciative of the input of Vice-Chair John Moore over the past year who, despite having served his time as Cross Country and Road Sec, continued to lead in this area.
The Chairman welcomed the news that Mr Oil had agreed to continue as the main sponsor of Athletics Wexford.
Outgoing Secretary, Linda Rogers, said she was happy to step down from the committee with a clean desk and the knowledge that AW is in such rude good health. She praised the Chairman’s leadership, diligence and enthusiasm since he stepped into the role. She echoed his admiration for the effort and time given by John Moore over the past year in the absence of a new Cross Country and Road Sec. Expanding on this topic she said that too few clubs are contributing personnel to the County Board. The Striders woman cautioned that if positions remained unfilled there was a possibility that it might impact on the events calendar.
Track & Field Secretary Michelle Byrne expressed her great appreciation of the time and effort given by volunteers at events. In particular she praised those parents who, in volunteering at events, often missed seeing their own children competing.
The main change proposed under Motions was one from the County Board in which it called for the abolishing of the positions of T&F Secretary and Cross Country and Road Secretary and their replacement with Senior Competition Secretary and Juvenile Competition Secretary. This was passed unanimously.
A proposal to reduce to 3000m the distance run by girls competing in U15-U19 County Cross Country Championships was narrowly defeated. There were good cases made for and against the motion including: the shorter distance might attract a great number of participants and make for more competitive races (for); the distances at county level should not be less than those at provincial level (against). The Chairman pointed out that the AAI recommends that, for those aged 14 and 15, the maximum recommended distance is 3000m.
A proposal from Bree to limit to five years the duration for which a person can hold an officer position on the County Board was defeated.
A motion from County Board that Male and Female Child Welfare Officers be appointed passed unanimously.
A proposal by United Striders that U19 athletes be permitted to compete in Novice and Intermediate, as they are already permitted to compete in Senior Cross Country and Road, is to be included in a motion presented by Wexford at National Congress.
Election of Officers
With Nicky Cowman continuing as President, all outgoing officers standing again were elected unopposed – Paddy Morgan (Chair), John Moore (Vice-Chair), Emmet Malone (Treasurer), and Pat O’Leary and Nicky Cowman (Leinster Reps). Anne Marie Forde took over from Linda Rogers as Secretary. With her former position of T&F Secretary now gone Michelle Byrne became the county’s first Juvenile Competition Secretary. The position of Senior Competition Secretary had no takers. The Board hope to recruit someone to the position at its next meeting. Catherine Ronan continues as Child Welfare Officer. Acting PRO Senan O’Reilly was formally elected to the position. The Athlete of the Month Committee was returned unopposed. Nicky Cowman, Michelle Byrne and William Spratt Murphy were returned to the Development Committee.