WEXFORD’S 2019 LEINSTER hurling winning joint captain Matthew O’Hanlon called the GAA’s decision to ban co-skippers from lifting trophies “nonsensical” but says it’s not a major issue.

O’Hanlon and Lee Chin lifted the Bob O’Keeffe Cup together two seasons ago but the Association officially ended the practice of joint captains accepting cups in official presentations at last Saturday’s virtual Annual Congress.

“My first instinct was, I didn’t understand really where it was coming from,” said O’Hanlon. “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 [it’s] 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.”

On the possibility of a joint captain missing out being in a potentially iconic picture lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup, he responded: “It’s probably not something I give a huge amount of thought to, just yet. The first point to make is, every single player and management lifts the trophy at some point when you win it anyway.

“So I mean, the difference between two people lifting it together or lifting it consecutively after one another is minimum. You can have pictures of all those moments.

“But yeah, I understand, it’s iconic. They’re the ones that will be circulating afterwards. Ultimately, it will be a good problem to have if Wexford are winning. That’s my number one concern.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s me lifting the trophy or Lee or someone else on the panel. My overarching goal is that Wexford are successful. And if it comes to lifting trophies, we’ll figure out who poses for the photo then.”

Wexford voted against the motion and chairman Micheál Martin says they’ll be seeking clarification on the rule with Croke Park.

“We’ll just seek clarification in context of the motion and its implications. I think Longford have indicated they’ll seek deviations. 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.

“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.”

Martin added, “Lee and Matthew received the Bob O’Keeffe in 2019 and I don’t think there were any issues in terms of either the reception of the trophy or the speech making afterwards.

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“I know Kerry had Kieran O’Leary and Fionn Fitzgerald (in 2014), so I’m not aware of the issues. To be fair, the motion has been passed. That’s democracy. We just seek clarification in terms of the implementation.”

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Shane Roche and Matthew O Hanlon pictured at the launch of Wexford GAA’s Strategic Plan.

Source: Noel Reddy Photography

O’Hanlon and Martin were speaking at the launch of Wexford GAA’s €5m five-year strategic plan [2021-25].

It’s Wexford GAA’s aim to have at least 15 full-time games promotion officers (GPOs) in place by 2025 while providing 75% of funding for clubs to employ them.

Team USA boxing coach Billy Walsh, QPR FC coach and former London senior football manager Ciarán Deely, Declan Browne (IT Carlow), Fionn MacPartlin (Team GB) and sprint coach Shane McCormack were involved in designing the strategy will sit on a high performance committee to oversee it’s implementation.

It includes plans to develop a 4G pitch in the county, in addition to further developing their centre of excellence in Ferns which will include a gym and new dressing rooms.