Monday, July 6, 2009

Ireland-Hurling: Diarmuid O'Sullivan on Helmets and Pay for Play

Sadly Cork hurling star Diarmuid O'Sullivan is about to retire from the game. Unfortunately for him new Cork hurling manager Denis Walsh had plans which did not include the Cloyne man. The Rock realised that the writing was on the wall and walked. Increasingly he appears to have become disillusioned with the GAA.

From 2010 it will be mandatory for all hurlers to wear a helmet. O'Sullivan strongly disagrees with this rule and announced in a Sunday Independent interview that he plans to retire from the game completely, on the basis that players should have freedom of choice. He is strongly supported in this opinion by Irish Examiner columnist onside johnny.
With all due respect to both, players safety MUST come first. Hurlers must put aside selfishness on this matter. Avoidance of serious injury is of paramount importance . Sportsmen as bread winners have responsibilities to their families. Injuries can put them out of work and result in heavy loss of income. I strongly support the new GAA rule.

The Rock argues in favour of match fees for players. Undoubtedly many players are feeling the brunt of the recession and as amateurs invest huge amounts of time and energy into preparation for intercounty matches. Realistically they are entitled to very generous expenes. A fee is Pay for Play and would herald the end of the GAA as an amateur organisation. Onside johnny in the Irish Examiner strongly supports the concept. He argues that each player should get €10,000 per championship match and slightly less for league matches. He argues for an extra €50K per man for players reaching quarter-finals and so on.
The Rock and journalists such as onside johnny have not teased out fully the implications of such a proposal.
Many games do not generate sufficient income to pay such sums. Yesterdays Leinster Hurling Final between Kilkenny and Dublin would not have provided the wherewithal to pay the €10,000 per player fee. Presumably 10 other panel members on each side would demand the same pay out. Also Croke Park - in common with all major sports stadia on match days- eats up gate receipts. Stadia do not run themselves.

The proposal to pay almost €10,000 to each player for each league match is crazy.
Presumably onside johnny is aware of the poor attendances for Cork's league matches at Pairc UI Chaoimh. This is replicated througout the country. Diarmaid O'Sullivan will now play Rugby for Highfield. Will he now secure a match fee of €10,000 per game?

Thousands of volunteers drive the GAA. They get no financial reward. Many will walk away.
I suspect that people such as Dessie Farrell of the GPA are endeavouring to drive the GAA toward professionalism. Their real agenda is to create a professional elite. If so they are heading for disaster. As the recession bites attendances are dropping and supporters are increasingly unhappy with ticket prices. There is downward pressure on prices.
Quite frankly the GAA would not survive as a professional organization. The GPA needs to thread carefully.

1 comment:

rainywalker said...

Finally for one day, one moment something makes sense.