Tipping Point: Wexford finally taking stand against tyranny of the GAA media

County’s players have had to duck for cover under a media onslaught for far too long

Wexford senior football manager David Power. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Wexford senior football manager David Power. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

With a tra-la-la and a hoppity-hi-ho, it is a most delightful pleasure to greet one and all to the first Monday morning of 2015. Here at The Irish Times, we want to usher in this time of hope and renewal with the sort of can-do verve that we just know chimes perfectly with your mood today. You are looking fabulous, by the way.

If this is your first day back at work, relax. Ease into the year. Make a list. Projects for the coming months. Big ideas. Can’t think of any? Use last year’s. Casually mention it in passing. Nothing specific. Be sincere but be nebulous. For all the higher-ups know, you could be the future. Why deprive them of that hope by getting into minutiae?

Above all, be optimistic. People love optimism this time of year. Turn that frown upside-down. Let a smile be your umbrella.

We’ve been doing that here in the office since before the new year even arrived. Last Sunday night, for instance, this email dropped from the Wexford football PRO.

Dateline: 28 December 2014, 22:56.

Subject: FW: Media / PR Procedure Wexford Senior Football 2015.

To All Media,

Wexford senior football management will have specific procedures in place for all media to abide by for the coming football season. We recognise that media contact is important and necessary but hope that the media will respect our procedures and abide by the rules layed [sic] out below:

1. The week leading into competitive matches (ie O’Byrne Cup, NFL, and Championship) the media will be invited to interview the manager after training on a Tuesday night only, these will be the only interviews the manager will give during match week. Under no circumstances will the manager or selectors take individual phone calls from media outside of this time.

2. Management must be consulted before any players are contacted for interviews from any media source.

3. No media will be allowed in the dressing rooms after matches, again a member of the management team will give post-match interviews, player interviews are allowed but only with prior consultation with the management team.

We hope that all media outlets will respect our procedures and we look forward to full co-operation from everyone.

Kind Regards,

Wexford Senior Football Management

And many happy returns of the season to you too, fine citizens of the pike! Out with the dukes up before the last of the turkey sandwiches has curled at the edges. Impressive.

Heart and hand

Truly, the Wexford footballers have had to duck for cover under a media onslaught for far too long. Late at night on the Sunday after Christmas may seem to some to be an odd time to be planting a flag in the ground on this issue but people don’t know what ye have to put up with. The flood of interview requests on St Stephen’s Day alone must have been torrential.

Yes, full-metal jacket is the only way to go here. The media thinks it’s so smart, with its phone calls and its questions and its constant need to know things.

Well, ye’ll show ’em. These new rules are clear, they’re concise and they take no nonsense from nobody. They’re long overdue.

Thickos You’ll probably confuse the thickos in the media along the way. Since you’ve decreed that these O’Byrne Cup games are competitive games and the rules have to be followed, the Tuesday night thing could be tricky.

Like this week, for instance. Wexford play Carlow IT on Wednesday night and Wicklow next Sunday.

So to ask about the Wednesday night game, the media will probably think they have to have our questions in by the previous Tuesday, ie before yesterday’s game against DIT. Oh, you’ll keep them guessing alright.

And as for the dressing-room ban, that’s another thing that should have happened long before now. Without these rules, who would vouch for the security of the door hinges in St Patrick, Enniscorthy on Wednesday night after the Carlow IT game?

Never mind that dressing rooms have been off-limits for a good decade now. It matters not a whit that neither David Power, the 31-year-old Wexford manager who made his name with the stellar Tipperary underage teams, nor the vast majority of the Wexford squad, has ever seen a journalist in a dressing room.

No, somebody had to take a stand. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Fair play, Wexford Senior Football Management. In these early days of 2015 when the year is fresh and the possibilities limitless, someone has finally stood up to the tyranny of the GAA media and put them in their place.

We salute you. Pretty soon, there’ll be nobody writing about Wexford football at all, at all. The media will be fairly goosed then, won’t it?

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