What is it about people in power? Why is it when ordinary Joe or Mary Soap let them know their views they most certainly do not listen? And are we surprised? Not really. When the people of Britain decided they had enough of Europe the elite class questioned their wisdom, or if indeed they had any. Britain would be ruined, businesses would be destroyed. What would they do? The world was over and what kind of idea was it to give the working class people a say in what direction their country should go in? Ridiculous.
It seems they got it wrong in America as well. Who on earth would vote for someone with the reputation of Donald Trump? What kind of people would do such a thing to their country? Our politicians decided they would put their ten cent into the conversation as well and called him all sorts before realising we are probably in no position to be calling anyone anything.
Look at the mess of what went on in our own country the last while where our leader was telling us about a conversation at a meeting that never took place, and within days we are listening to how great this man was. You couldn’t make it up.
It gets no better either for the GAA. Congress decided to go ahead with the ‘Super 8’ proposal. It was being sold to us as something that would help with the club fixtures; they would bring the All-Ireland finals forward to the end of August and the clubs would have September and the rest of the year to play their games.
Problem is that just as the county players love to play in the summer months, so do the club players.
Let’s take a quick look at this without having exact dates. Take it the National League will start some time near the end of January and will finish up in April. That gives the club access to their county players a few weeks in April and May. No, they will be training for the championship and I would tend to believe that county managers will not want to risk them playing club league matches knowing that the championship ahead will be played in a shorter period.
If your county reaches the last eight forget about June, July and August and if the players are being asked to play two extra games in this short space of time what kind of shape are they going to be in going back to their clubs?
Has anyone openly discussed player welfare in all of this? Then let’s say we start the club championship in the first week of September. Remember the All-Ireland club final will soon be played before the end of the year. So the games are going to come hard and fast once again. I ask the same question again; has anyone thought about the welfare of amateur players with this sort of schedule?
Well it’s passed and the line we get now is that it was voted on and the vast majority of the members passed it. I can’t argue with that but it does throw up an entirely different question: Is there anyone out there listening to the views of players? Are there any club delegates asking the serious questions when it comes to club fixtures? After all, the county board can only take action on any complaint when it is made. If it is not done unofficially then it is just idle chatter and I get that. But a group of people decided to set up the Club Players’ Association; they have north of 20,000 members signed up. They asked for the proposal to be set aside for a while to let them put the concerns of their members to Congress. No was the answer.
The Gaelic Players Association decided to poll its members; remember these are the players that would be playing these extra games. 70 per cent of their members rejected the proposals. Commentators suggested that the players should have put a proposal to Congress themselves if they were so worried about club fixtures, but they did and it was deemed to be submitted too late. And anyway I doubt if it would have got to the floor.
There is, without doubt, a vast division between those who administer our games and those who play them. Let’s not be naïve here, this is big business, and there is a lot of money at stake and if you’re going to be one of the last eight, those extra games could help the counties’ finances in a big way.
But we are told with every press release that it’s not about the money. The club is what matters, but when 20,000 club players decided to tell them something, they didn’t listen and instead put the club fixtures into two sessions in the one year, before the summer and after it.
Eamon McGee tweeted that “the level of disrespect shown to both club and county GAA players today is staggering”. Dermot Earley, the new CEO of the GPA, called it “a slap in the face”.
Where this goes only time will tell us, but those that made these calls will not accept responsibility when clubs are finding it impossible to keep their players interested. It’s not good enough for people to suggest that the young people just don’t care; why would they when we treat them with such disdain.
It was a great result by Donegal against Dublin last weekend. Although chatting to a few of the Donegal players after the game they felt they had a great chance to get one over the All-Ireland champions. In poor underfoot conditions both sides adopted similar game plans, dropping every man behind the ball when not in possession, thus there was little flow to the game but it is what we have come to expect.
Rory Gallagher has made no secret that this is a team in transition but after the last two games everyone has to be impressed with the level to which these younger lads have come in such a short time. Two points against Cavan next weekend would help a great deal in not only building more confidence within this group but also securing Division One status.