Cathaoirleach’s address

A chairde,

Ba mhaith liom cúpla focai a rá libh

At the outset I wish to compliment the Rackard League committee and volunteers for their outstanding service over the years. I want to particularly instance the truly remarkable efforts of recently retired Cathaoirleach , Dan oFlaherty and Rúnaí , Jim Dempsey. These men were the quintessential GAA men who served long and effectively. At our recent A G M : Johnny Murphy was elected Rúnaí and myself; Cathaoirleach. We intend to continue the long traditions of the Rackard League and along with our great teachers ensure the children of Wexford are given every opportunity to enjoy the brilliance of our national games.

The Rackard League was the brainchild of the Rathnure and Wexford hurling icon – Nicky Rackard. It started off as rural schools competition as it was deemed that the town schools would be too strong– how the wheel has turned. Kilmore were the first winners and the leagues eventually included the town schools . In 1986 a B competition was introduced for the beaten A semi- finalists with Piercestown taking their first title in football. The following year was the inaugural mini sevens competitions with Murrintown NS winning the double. Indeed Rory McCarthy was the first boy to represent his school in Croke Park and just 8 years later went on to win an All-Ireland with Wexford.

Boys and Girls play in representative games at provincial finals and semis finals. Every boy and girl gets great satisfaction when they represent their school and parish– ” for the sake of the little village” Charles J Kickham. Parochial pride and honour is ageless and is even more apt to day with our ever changing society..

The Rackard League football competition is run in full swing at the moment. Great credit is due to teachers that give hours of their time on a weekly basis to train and coach our young players. The mini 7s football is played in the 1st term also. It has an exciting knockout format and is a massive favourite among the children. This year will see the return of the skills competition. It is critically important to encourage our children to master the many skills of Gaelic football especially at a time when adult teams seem totally focused on fitness and strength. The Rackard League hurling begins in spring as does the mini 7s hurling competition. The hurling skills competition again gives children the opportunity to showcase their technique and proficiency without any emphasis on size. The rounders and handball competitions are growing in popularity and again it’s down to teachers being generous with their own time. It would be remiss of me not to mention the outstanding work done over the years by Eamon Barrett (rounders) and Colm O Tiarnaigh (handball) Cooperation between schools and clubs is essential to the continuation of our unparalleled participation in our Gaelic games.

Mól an ōige agus tiocfaidh siad

Le meas’

Kevin Waters (Cathaoirleach)