Wexford’s Matthew O’Hanlon believes joint-captains’ trophy rule ‘nonsensical’

County to seek clarification from Central Council over new rule brought in at congress

Wexford joint captains Matthew O’Hanlon and Lee Chin lift the Bob O’Keeffe Cup after the win over Kilkenny in the 2019 Leinster SHC Final at Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Wexford joint captains Matthew O’Hanlon and Lee Chin lift the Bob O’Keeffe Cup after the win over Kilkenny in the 2019 Leinster SHC Final at Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Wexford will seek clarification from Central Council about the new rule stipulating that presentation of trophies must be to a single captain.

The county has had joint-captains of the senior hurling team for the past four years and in 2019 both Lee Chin and Matthew O’Hanlon were presented with the O’Keeffe Cup after winning the Leinster final. O’Hanlon on Tuesday described the move as “nonsensical”.

The rule prohibiting such a presentation was passed by Central Council earlier this year but caused some controversy at Saturday’s annual congress, as some delegates opposed the decision and others questioned how it had been passed already.

It was clarified that trophy presentation is one of the areas of the rule book, which confers reserved powers on Central Council. Previously the rule said that receiving the trophy was a privilege of the captain and the new rule specifically excludes joint-captains.

Liam Keane, chair of the Rules Advisory Committee, intervened to point out that the proposed change had already been accepted but outgoing president John Horan asked did delegates want Central Council to have another look at the matter. They didn’t.

Wexford chair Micheál Martin was one of those to query the new rule at congress and speaking at Tuesday’s remote launch of his county’s five-year strategic plan, 2021-25, he said that they would raise the matter with Central Council, as Longford had already indicated that they’d seek a derogation.

“We’ll just seek clarification in context of the motion and its implications. Anytime we bring in a rule that deviations are required, immediately it probably means that we may need to rethink as an association whether the motion is actually practical or not.

“Peter O’Reilly [Longford chair] spoke on Saturday as well and he raised a query in the context of independent teams [amalgamations of club sides]. I’m principal of a primary school and at underage games joint-captains have become more frequent, so I think there’s a degree of clarification required around how this motion is going to be implemented.”

Hurling joint-captain O’Hanlon, speaking at the same event, was bemused by what had inspired the change of rule but not overly bothered.

“My first instinct was, I didn’t understand really where it was coming from. That there were other issues at a GAA congress level that should be given a higher priority than that.

“But in essence, it doesn’t really bother me. It doesn’t bother Lee. We’re nominated by our peers and selected by our management to lead the team. We’re still going to lead our team in that way.

“It’s a good problem to have if it comes to us having to lift a trophy and decide which one of us goes up, because it just means that we’re after winning something. So we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it but yeah, overarching feeling is – nonsensical.

“I don’t really understand where it came from and why it was a big pain point for people in given counties but the decision is passed now so there’s no real point in complaining. We just move on with it.”

Martin felt that it was unfortunate the matter had distracted attention from more historic decisions.

“I think it’s a pity in terms of the immediate aftermath of congress, this decision seemed to dominate in terms of the motions that had been passed along with the cynical play motions.”

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