Last week was a bad one for Waterford’s Inter League outfits both on and off the field. On Saturday last the Youth team lost 3-2 away to Cork City and County in their opening game of the Inter-League competition. A draw looked on the cards until the home side scored what proved to be the winner deep into injury time. It was an excellent display however by the local side and they can still advance from the group.
The sad news that the Waterford and District League will not take part in this season’s Oscar Traynor Trophy was greeted with dismay by all local football lovers. Waterford were the first league to win the competition way back in 1964 and they won it again the following year with wonderful players such as Richie Elliott, John McLoughlin, Mattie Daly, current league treasurer Jimmy O’Neill and of course the late Gerry Carew, who said goodbye to us two weeks ago.
Three seasons ago, under the guidance of Brian O’Keeffe, a 40-year famine was brought to an end when Waterford were crowned champions once again. During the famine period many a semi-final and quarter-final were reached but success eluded the local league. Various committees down through the years put a hell of a lot of work into getting managers and players ready for the games up and down the country and it would be fair to say that the majority of players who were selected were proud to wear the Waterford League shirt.
Our top clubs were also honoured to have their best players selected. Clubs who went hammer and tongs at each other, week in, week out would stand tall when their players walked out representing Waterford. The players from those clubs who tried to outfox each other on a regular basis would bond together superbly in attempting to bring the famous trophy back to its first home.
The decision taken last week is very hard to take. It was an open secret that a manager was not appointed due to a number of reasons. No-one actually applied for the position, which was disappointing. All efforts to try and get someone on board also failed, although one would have to question if all avenues were explored during what was a lengthy enough period since the draw was made.
One would imagine that we here in Waterford have got people with enough experience to take charge of a team for the duration of our stay in the competition. Perhaps advertising the position of manager in the local newspapers is not the way to go. An approach should in my view be made to people who would be capable of managing the team.
It is now clear that managers will not apply for the position. Whatever the rights and wrongs of this saga, there is no doubt that the decision to withdraw the team from the cup is extremely sad.
The local league committee were right to take the team out if they feel entering the competition in a half-hearted manner would be damaging. Hopefully this will be the last time that Waterford will not be involved in this wonderful and historic Oscar Traynor Trophy tournament.
The folk who sit on the present committee no doubt thought long and hard about taking such drastic action. At a time when clubs such as Waterford Crystal and Carrick United have done us proud in the FAI Junior Cup it is dreadfully upsetting to see this great league of ours sitting on the fence as leagues from all over the country go in quest of glory. The great man himself, Oscar Traynor, must be turning in his grave.