Friday, November 20, 2015

Club Fixtures: calls it 'A Plaster for an Open Wound'

I'm with Kevin McGillicuddy. The proposals for the fixtures problem just don't go far enough.

The real problem lies in the summer when the provincial inter-county championships monopolise the fine weather and deny club players the best conditions to play the club championships.

And as Kevin points out, the County Boards are left in charge of this problem but their priority is not giving club players meaningful games it's chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and doing anything and everything to ensure the county team's success. They are caught in the Catch-22 of pumping money into the preparation of county teams and dependent on the county team's success to recoup the money invested.

Club Fixtures: Jackie Cahill raises the issues

Interesting comments in Jackie Cahill's piece on the GAA section of on Padraig Duffy's fixtures proposals.

Perhaps it is time for a Gaelic CLUB Players Association. Inter-county players are 'selfish' as Tomas O'Se admitted on Off the Ball. Although that's not something we didn't know already given the GPA's words and actions since its inception.

The club players have no-one to convey their collective voice despite representing the vast majority of the GAA's playing membership. The 'elitist cartel' as Joe Brolly calls them has Croke Park and the County Boards under its control and the national media only care about the county scene as that's what sells papers, gets them clicks and pays their wages. And it seems anytime there's a committee or panel created to look into these matters it consists of ex-county players who have a bias towards the inter-county game.

But how could a Club Players body come into existence? It was hard enough to form the GPA.

The Fermanagh Herald on Club Fixtures

Padraig Duffy's proposals for fixtures and player burn-out have generated some commentary since their publication recently.

Chris Breen in the Fermanagh Herald has a good piece today and makes some important points on how the proposals fall short.

Bringing forward the All-Ireland finals by two weeks is positive and is to be welcome. But, the problem doesn't lie in August no September for most countries it's the months preceding it. Couldn't agree more. Despite the 13 day rule few counties play their club championship fixtures between inter-county championship matches. The predominant discourse in the media led by ex-county players and managers is that the two can't be played side-by-side. This is wrong and treats club players as second class citizens.

Ending replays as Chris points out could hurt the GAA financially but the players - the vast majority of them being club players - are the real 'currency' of the GAA and need to be protected. It's about time the GAA recognised this. Giving club players a regular and meaningful fixture of matches should be the top priority in securing the GAA's future. Otherwise they will find something better to do with their time.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It's time to say goodbye to the International Rules

With the International Rules this weekend it's worth recalling that on the 19th November last year France played Italy in an international GAA match in Toulouse.  

Perhaps France's overwhelming victory on the day meant a re-match was not sought by the Italians this year.  Nevertheless this match was a sign of things to come. The French are intent on sending a well-prepared team to represent France in the GAA World Games in Ireland next year and were recently unlucky not to beat an Ireland side comprised of Irish players based in France.

While it will take at least a decade before a French team can take on a real Irish team the growth of GAA in France over the last ten years has been impressive and the standard of Gaelic football is improving all the time.

Which begs the question. Why does the GAA want to promote a game that no-one in Ireland plays? It doesn't have any identity and it certainly doesn't have a future.

If the GAA really wants to promote its games internationally then investment should be made in countries like France where there's an appetite for the game. Not some made-up sport that no actually plays.

Around the World in 80 GAA Clubs

Great initiative by Joe to feature some of the GAA clubs from around the world. Although eighty sounds like a large number of clubs it's just over a third of the 315 international clubs affiliated with the GAA. That number is based on figures from the GAA's last annual report 2014 and am sure the number of clubs has grown since then.

1. Berlin GAA Club
2. Helsinki GAA Club
3. Qatar GAA Club

GAA in France

Seems only appropriate that as my last post on this blog a few years ago was about the GAA in France, then my next post should address the same subject.

Recently, the France GAA team played Ireland in Paris, with the Irish team made-up of Irish players living in France from clubs such as Paris Gaels, Toulouse and Rennes.

France are hoping to send a team to the inaugural GAA World Games which will take place in Dublin in 2016 to coincide with the 1916 commemorations.

Based on their performance it looks like they'll be sending a strong team to Ireland next year; it took the last kick of the game from Ireland to level the scores at 3-10 to 3-10.

Enjoy some of the highlights.