Read the Reid - With Sky interested, serious issues ahead for GAA on broadcasting packages

The GAA has confirmed that a motion will be introduced to Congress next year to ban so-called ‘Nash-style’ frees.

The GAA has confirmed that a motion will be introduced to Congress next year to ban so-called ‘Nash-style’ frees.

At a meeting of Central Council in Croke Park last week, it was agreed that motion 58 would be put to Congress, that 20m frees and penalty pucks be struck from the 20m line. The motion had been withdrawn from last month’s Congress. The motion referred to a style of free associated with Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash, wherein the sliotar is pushed forward in raising it, to allow the free-taker to strike it closer to the goal.

Also at the meeting of Central Council, it was decided to delay putting before Congress proposals relating to the introduction of a clock and hooter system until 2015. It is now to be postponed until next year as rule changes will be required to facilitate its introduction.

Concerns were also expressed that teams would use substitutions to run down the clock and further piloting of the system is to take place during third level colleges matches.

The implementation of the new minimum age for minor inter-county teams has also been postponed until next year.

In fairness to the GAA, the powers that be are proactive in tackling issues that pop up from time to time as the games of hurling and football evolve. The GAA is a huge business now. Apparently Sky has made a bid for at least two of six broadcasting packages in a reconstructed GAA schedule. All-Ireland finals are required by law to be shown on free-to-air TV, so any advances by Sky will not affect the showpiece events.

There is also the possibility of TG4 and Sky broadcasting championship games simultaneously, as Sky look to gain a foothold in the GAA market.

So what’s in all of this for the players? Probably zilch. As the GAA organisation moves further and further away from the ‘amateur’ status of the game it is increasingly likely that our amateur players will seek some form of financial reward.

Inter-county players and team management expend an unbelievable amount of time and energy in team preparation in the modern game. It is incredulous that these people still hold down day jobs while giving so much to Gaelic games. Something has to give. The GAA will have to deal with much more serious issues in the not too distant future than the placement of a sliotar in respect of a free.

We cannot concern ourselves too much about these issue now since the National League campaign is drawing to a close. At stake for Donegal is promotion. This Sunday, Louth will visit Ballyshannon to take on the joint league toppers. This is a vital game for Donegal. It is important to strike back after losing to a well drilled Down team in our last league game.

There are more lessons learned from a defeat than a win. League games are unpredictable and it is suffice to note that Louth will come to Donegal seeking victory. Donegal’s fate is still in their own hands (and feet). We have a superior points difference over the other two teams at the top of the table, Monaghan and Down.

Irrespective of the permutations, Donegal just need to focus on winning the last two remaining games, Louth this Sunday and Armagh in The Athletic Grounds on Sunday week.

Jerry’s outburst

Former Irish Olympian Jerry Kiernan has claimed the standards athletes must reach to play Gaelic games are relatively low and that the GAA should not get any money from taxpayers. Kiernan was commenting on the €600,000 grant the Irish government has pledged towards the redevelopment of Ruislip GAA grounds in London as part of the Emigrant Support Programme.

The two-time Dublin marathon winner claimed that the GAA, as the richest association in Ireland, can afford to fund their own activities. Additionally, he claimed that there are standards that must be reached to secure funding as an international athlete whereas the only standard required for the GAA to get taxpayers’ money is the popularity of Gaelic games.

The fitness of GAA players, including those at inter-county level, also came in for criticism from the Listowel native who admitted he had little time for Gaelic games saying: “I don’t actually think it’s a particularly skilful game.”

This is a snippet of the interview that Jerry Kiernan gave on Newstalk Radio this week. Jerry was obviously useless at Gaelic games.

This isn’t the first shot fired in anger at the GAA by Kiernan. He must not blame the GAA for the deficit in Irish athletics. I suggest you look elsewhere Mr. Kiernan.