It’s still all to play for in the Wexford Football League Premier Division…
On Monday, The Wexford Football League released their fixtures for the period 25th of April to the 5th of May.
One of the stand-out parts and one of the major discussion points following the release of the fixture schedule relates to Gorey Rangers.
Gorey Rangers FC are penciled in to play 7 games in 13 days, which the club has labeled as “crazy” while one of their players described it as “a bit of a joke.” The start of that run of games began yesterday (Tuesday) evening, with Gorey Rangers traveling to Rosslare and beating them 6-0 in the process.
From an outsider looking in, it does look to be a bit ridiculous and crazy too. The question regarding player welfare does come to mind. When Wexford Weekly contacted the Wexford League Football Committee for comment, they said:
“Player welfare is, of course, an issue that is important to us but we are facing an unprecedented situation, and we are bound by FAI guidelines that our competitions have to be complete by May 31st at which point all players become free agents. Therefore, unfortunately, these games have to be played in a very short timeframe,” Padraig Whitty, Wexford Football Leauge Fixture Secretary told Wexford Weekly.
It hasn’t been easy for the fixture committee. The Wexford Football League is competitive and there’s a lot of action within it, with a lot of fixtures to uphold. This is probably what makes the Wexford Football League premier division so interesting too. This year, Gorey Rangers, however, were also part of the FAI Junior Cup, reaching the semi-final of that competition and the LFA Junior Cup which they have reached the final of.
“We have a highly competitive league, the 2nd biggest junior league in the country and we have a duty to all clubs to complete our leagues. To date, this season, Gorey Rangers have played 33 competitive fixtures, 8 FAI Junior Cup, 7 on LFA Junior, and also 3 games in the Leinster senior cup with potentially 12 more to play. As a League, we have been working in conjunction with the Gorey Rangers manager to plan and organise this fixture list. Even still, it will go right to the final date, and we ensure that no team will play a midweek game before a cup final. Our own cup final will be played on the 28th of May, the latest date as of yet,” Padraig Whitty of the Wexford Football Leauge said.
Gorey Rangers 1st team fixtures:
Tuesday 25th, Premier Division
Rosslare Rangers (0) v Gorey Rangers (6)
Thursday 27th, Premier Division
Gorey Rangers v Shamrock Rovers 6.30
Saturday 29th, WX Cup Quarter Final
Gorey Rangers v Bunclody AFC 6.00
Monday 1st, Premier Division
Gorey Rangers v Corach Ramblers
Wednesday 3rd May, Premier Division
Courtown Hibs v Gorey Rangers 6.45
Friday 5th May, Premier Division
Gorey Rangers v Crossabeg FC
As mentioned, this run of fixtures is also during a time when Gorey Rangers are also preparing for a Leinster Junior Cup final. Gorey Rangers will take on the winners of the other semi-finalists, Freebooters v Trim Celtic.
Unsurprisingly, it seems that when teams do well in the national competition, their local fixture schedule is impacted, and with a tight schedule to complete the games, this is bound to happen. It’s not the first time that it has occurred either; when North End FC won the FAI Junior Cup back in 2018, a similar situation occurred.
“For context, it is a situation other clubs have had to face before, in 2018 when North End Utd won the FAI junior cup they had to play 8 games in a 14 day period. The finalists that day Pike Rovers had a similar season to Gorey Rangers to date as they went far in the Munster FA cup also. Their league season finished on the 31st of May with them only completing 12 of their 20 league games due to the same issue. We are managing this in conjunction with the club to cope with the volume of games. Something not comparable to most seasons. Every club is aware that they will get a minimum of 20 games in our season with the option of more by entering outside cup competitions.”
The Wexford Football League will review the situation before next season.
“We will review this matter before next season, ideally. We need more facilities across the county with floodlights, etc so that we can spread out midweek fixtures earlier in the season, regrettably we do not have that luxury at present.”
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