Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Time has come for GPA to stop asking GAA for more

Paddy Heaney of the Irish News has had enough of Dessie's rants. (The full article is posted on

While I don't agree with everything he has to say, he makes some good points. 

If, as Dessie claims, it was all about the elite players--"Without them there is nothing" to quote from his speech at the GPA dinner on Friday-- then as Paddy says, why is the Railway Cup not a roaring success? Fair point.

And while Paddy acknowledges that the GAA hasn't always treated players so well, he explains how Alan Simpson, the Linfield goalkeeping coach, who was part of Ross Carr's backroom team for Down, was "overwhelmed by how well Down's county footballers were treated and hugely impressed by the way no expense was spared in meeting their needs". This echoes Babs Keating's comments that the Tipperary squad of 2007 weren't "left for anything" with the County Board spending €870,000--that's a lot of money--training teams with no success to show for it. 

And that's the part Dessie doesn't mention. He focuses on the empty part of the glass all the time. 

The GAA currently allocates nearly 50% of its income on expenses that are directly related to inter-county teams: 14%  on match and competition costs; 18% payments to counties (we know from the comments above how most of that is spent); and 14% on player welfare. (Source is GAA Annual Report 2008

Dessie states that the GAA is going to have to fund the GPA--and pay Dessie's salary!

If the GAA, ultimately, does end up having to fund the GPA then another part of the Association is going to have to pay--that will mean a reduction in funding for facilities, or funding for coaching and games development. 

Then the real losers will be the clubs and volunteers who work so hard to train and coach future generations of inter-county players.

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