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G.A.A. Ignoring Climate Change In Their Own Front Garden At Their Own Peril
The G.A.A. is just a Puck of a Ball away from another crazy season of over supply of inter county fare and watching Cork senior hurlers on Saturday night (11th January '20) at Limerick's Gaelic Grounds, I believe the time has come for someone, somewhere, to stop the madness. I was afforded the facility of watching the game "Live" courtesy of the Irish Examiner Facebook Page and good as that may be, it reeks of professionalism, when a newspaper decrees, that a Munster Senior League final is now worthy of live transmission in early January.
Anthony Daly of Clare fame was the co-commentator (didn't get the name of the commentator) and obviously Dalo was paid for his services and no doubt the players were the pawns once again as the G.A.A. play their amateur ethos once again. There is a huge climate change in G.A.A. and they are the inventors and the production line, at their own peril. And it is not of the good news category, just like the universal climate change calamity.
The Cork hurlers were white washed by a dazzling Limerick combination (not to mention the footballers) but the No.1 focus of this article is not about Cork's ineptitude. It's about the severe overloading of inter county games on players in the month of January and it seems the decision makers, in a so called amateur association, have zero concern for players welfare. It won't last much longer, simply because it's way out of order.
Cork and Limerick hurlers played in adverse weather conditions, that could only be described as totally unsuitable for hurling, yet the Limerick players mastered and displayed a range of skills, that yielded a five goal victory over Cork. Looking at the Cork selection, it has to be pondered.. what is it that Cork management don't already know about certain Cork players who have been out of their depth playing senior inter county hurling for far too long.
Saturday night proved (though not required) that Cork need major surgery once again and they must bite the bullet and finally accept, that lame passengers cannot be accommodated. Ordinary ex club hurlers and fans comment, that Cork are persisting with a few players who simply don't have the basic skills required, never had also, and short of naming such players, it beggars belief that Cork management are once again found wanting in making a serious call and issuing red cards to these players.
However, as bad as Cork were last Saturday, and allowing for the shortfalls of available college players, Cork have one hell of a mountain to climb to bridge that gap from 2005, when Liam last visited his ancestral home county. In 1990, Cork, in the words of the late Denis Conroy of Carrigtwohill fame, proved that Cork hurlers can surface overnight, just like the mushrooms. For some years now, that theory has banished and Cork's rating amongst the elite counties took another severe battering at the Gaelic Grounds in the early weeks of January.
RESPECT FOR PLAYERS: Former Meath footballer, Colm O'Rourke, this week commented once again, that G.A.A. players are very entitled to decide their own futures when professional opportunities arise and the willingness of Croke Park to oversee payments to officials, administrators, coaches and fitness experts, must cease, before a total explosion and rejection by players occurs, even at club levels.
The committment of players has been mind boggling for a few years now and without the players, the G.A.A. do not have a product to offset huge maintenance costs. Televising inter county games in early January signals an acceptance by commercial interests, that relaying by Facebook or YouTube, is for them, a worthy commercial venture.
The GPA appears to have been swallowed up by their landlords, whilst the new clubs association formed recently, do not appear to receive due recognition in the corridoors of power. Strike actions in industry and commerce are major tools of the trade. Without a strike facility for the benefit of employees in place, large companies simply dictate and there has been great evidence of this in Irish business.
Cork players set a trend in motion not too long ago, and it took a second strike, supported by the majority of modern day fans to finally convince Cork G.A.A. Board, that they were in a cul-de-sac and they needed to wake up and lift the barriers imposed by previous generations of officials, who upheld the founding amateur ethos, when most of its sell by date was long expired.
Right now it's a slippery road and the Croke Park obsession is "overload; overload" until the carriage collapses, as it did in Cork. The financial requirements, even for the minnow counties, is severly overloaded with club and county teams, bulging with management and back up teams.
The G.A.A. population of Ireland is very small when compared to England's Premier League, with powerhouse elite English teams bringing in 50,000 patrons every two weeks, whilst the Watford's bring in just 12,000 fans. Sky TV bankroll English clubs like Watford with sterling millions, yet our G.A.A. players are as finely tuned as any Premier League footballer.
PLAYERS AR NOT G.A.A. PROPERTY: Maybe Croke Park might finally come to their senses in a professional manner and accept that their players need academic qualifications, good jobs and very understanding employers, to enable their players perform at the same time, as elite G.A.A. performers. The tools of the G.A.A. trade, "THE PLAYERS" are not, unlike Premier League players, the property of club or county and there is no transfer fees also.
ABUSE OF PLAYERS: Croke Park urgently need to discontine the professional madness, where money is at the root of all G.A.A. permutations, because hurling and football is certainly not their motivation. The G.A.A. are using and abusing players in a manner unseen in gaelic games history and in 2019, spectators spoke with their feet in vast numbers. Thousands abstained from attending matches in both club and county games.
PAYMENTS: There are far too many ponderings by fans about G.A.A. payments to everyone, except the players. We assume the players are not paid. Dublin now have a new football management team with Dessie Farrell at the helm, a former GPA CEO. His new employers, are the Dublin County Board. Dessie’s job is a full time occupation and that’s not isolating the Dublin bandwagon, as many more counties now have monumental annual overheads to sustain their inter county teams. Wexford also mean business and again the county board are investing huge sums in their managers. The terms relevant to county managers can be dressed up by the G.A.A. in a amateurish manner, only believed by themselves.
The sustainment of such financial directions is a major charge on club and county resources and with 32 counties seeking a pot of silverware as their reward, surely the minnows have now drifted way out of reach completely. For a wee county such as Louth, who last won Sam in 1957, their aspirations have been shafted beyond redemption in the current climate change. Croke Park have zero regard about the aspirations of counties, such as Louth, Leitrim, Wicklow and many more to bring Sam or Liam to their shores.
BUBBLE BURST: It’s interesting times for both players No.1 and fans No.2. Fans are charged ridiculous admission charges to watch amateur games at club & county levels and Cork, once the powerhouse for huge support amongst fans, had a dismal fall off in attendance numbers in 2019. And again in the current climate adopted, Cork fans in 2020, will again reject unsustainable admission charges, despite the board doctoring a congested fixtures calendar.
Persons charged with establishing solutions mostly enjoy free passes to games and aside from end of season final matches, when support is more forthcoming, it is a one direction route for the G.A.A. to ignore their own massive climate change.
Composed by Derry JF Doody