Manus Boyle and Dr. Austin O'Kennedy . . . who were at Donegal meeting
The GAA players newly formed Club Players’ Association is up and running in Donegal and recruiting new members for the fledgling organisation.
The new association held its first meeting in Donegal in the Vila Rosa Hotel, Ballybofey, on Friday night. And while the meeting was just an exploratory meeting to organise troops on the ground Dr Austin O’Kennedy, Donegal Town, one of the founding members of the new organisation, reported a very positive meeting.
“We had a big crowd considering it was only called to get organised in the county and wasn’t widely advertised,” said the former Donegal GAA team doctor.
“There were over 20 people present from a number of clubs and Declan Brennan, the secretary of the CPA, was down from Monaghan.
“We had a good discussion and a number of ideas were floated and the drive now is on recruitment and getting club players to sign up.
“And to achieve that we are looking for a representative from every club in the county to assist in the recruitment. We have 40 clubs in the county, 39 football and one solely hurling club.”
February is a critical month for the new organisation; a motion from Wexford is to go before next month’s annual Congress of the GAA in Croke Park.
The motion is seeking that Croke Park recognise the CPA and allow it have a voice in GAA Headquarters.
“All we are looking for is the CPA be recognised as the representative body for club players, the same way as the GPA is the voice of county players.
“If it is not passed at Congress, seemingly under GAA rules the motion won’t be allowed to go before Congress again for another two years.
“That is why it is vital that players sign up as a matter of urgency because we want to be able to show before the motion is put to Congress that we are the voice for the club player.
“It is very simple to join; all you have to do is log on to www.gaaclubplayers.com all it will take is 30 seconds.”
The Club Players’ Association was launched last Monday in Dublin, at the home of All-Ireland Club champions Ballyboden St Enda’s.
Dr Austin O’Kennedy is on the executive of the new body and is also registrar for Donegal with former Armagh player Aaron Kernan, the Ulster registrar.
The aim of the new body is to give club players a voice at the centre of power in the GAA, while the main initial aim of the CPA is to find a solution to the current club fixture crux that is widespread in the association and across all 32 counties.
Interestingly among those in attendance at last Friday night’s meeting in Ballybofey, were former county players Manus Boyle, Martin McHugh, John Haran, Brendan Boyle and Paul McGonagle.