The implementation of the Rogers Plan wouldn’t be the panacea for instant success. The best that could be expected is that maybe in four or five years there would be signs of an improvement.
My ‘Andy Warhol’ of a few weeks ago had only ended when the phone rang. “You could at least have given us some chance,” the anonymous voice at the other end said. He was then gone.
This was his response to me saying, in answer to a question on the telly, that Louth had no chance in the championship match with Dublin, coming up on the following Saturday. Maybe I could have fudged it a bit and said something like, “Well, we’ll give it our best shot and it might be close enough” or “Louth love it when Dublin are in the other corner; it helps us raise our game.” Maybe end with, “But, I don’t think we’ll do it.”
I’m glad I didn’t. With 26 points separating the sides at the finish, I’m sure there then would have been a different kind of caller coming through the following week. “You’re some judge” or “I thought you said they had a chance” would almost certainly have been the flavour.
The ‘dog and bone’ was singing again last week, callers, all of them giving their name this time, wanting to know about “David Rogers’ Plan”, as one of them put it. This is something this page has been banging on about for some time, asking why it, the plan, had never been fully implemented.
To refresh any memories that might have gone dim on the subject, a committee was set up a few years ago to look into the structures of underage football, club and schools, in this county and make recommendations. David Rogers, a St. Kevin’s clubman, was named chairman, and among those he had alongside him were former county players who’d had a distinguished career in club football, senior championship medals among their collection. Pat Mulligan won his with St. Joseph’s, Martin Carr with Newtown Blues.
The committee met often, but as well as that travelled near and wide to speak to people, county managers among them, who they felt would have something to offer. What they arrived at was a comprehensive report, one that met with widespread approval among the people who read it. It didn’t, however, get the County Board examination it deserved. When it became obvious clubs weren’t happy with this, it was agreed to devote a special meeting to the report’s recommendation. This never happened.
What all of this illustrates, to this writer at least, is that the Co Board either doesn’t want to be told how things should be done, even by a committee it set up itself, or thinks everything is grand, well enough to be left alone.
Well enough? Take a look at county underage team results of the last few years to begin with, and then think of the difficulty there recently was in getting a team together for the first match in the U20 league. There was a spate of walk-overs in underage club matches last year, and there’s no suggestion it’s any different this time around.
One of the missives to arrive here last week came from someone involved with one of the county’s academies. Beginning by saying he was “horrified” with the way Louth football is going, he insisted that ”a big review is needed - we need to start from scratch”.
Someone else said that while it was claimed in a report that a school in the south part of the county was visited eight times in 2018, there was in fact only one coaching session. Schools’ football, it seems, was never at such a low ebb.
The implementation of the Rogers Plan wouldn’t be the panacea for instant success. The best that could be expected is that maybe in four or five years there would be signs of an improvement. What’s required immediately is an acceptance that things are in a dreadful state and something major is required to breathe life back into an ailing county.
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