It hasn’t rained for nearly two weeks now, there is warmth in the sun and the National League is coming to an end.
This must mean that summer is here, and that means Championship football
It’s the time where all counties dream of success, for some it would be to win a Championship game for others it would be to make a Provincial final for others nothing but winning a Provincial Final would do
And then there’s the “big boys” where nothing short of All Ireland success would deem there seasons a failure.
I should be exited, and I suppose I am in a weird sort of way, but I am also apprehensive. It seems that the internal wrangling between counties shows no signs of abating
This week Westmeath lost their manager Brendan Hackett and a Championship ball had not been kicked in Anger, Limerick hurlers are at their lowest ebb having been relegated by Dublin to Division 2 of the National League and beaten by a cricket score into the bargain
Over the last few years it seems that most counties have had their managerial problems
“Player Power” has reared its ugly head and I am sure that the powers that be in Croke Park wish that players would just turn up and play and stop “rocking the boat”
I on the other hand hope that they continue to turn up to play but continue to “rock the boat”.
I want them to rock the boat until it capsizes. I want the Lifeboats to be launched and lifejackets issued and inflated; because the issue of so called “player power” needs to be addressed
The management and head honcho’s in Croke Park are wondering what all the fuss is about. Why can’t the players just train and play and leave the running of the association to us
Well the news the players have for the hierarchy is “without the players we don’t have a GAA and all you so called leaders would be without a job, and in many cases without an income, so think on.
We all know that some players want to be paid, and others don’t, but what they all want is to be treated fairly – treated as equals not just as a means to an end for ambitious club or county administrators
A county player will give up at least 10 months of their year to their respective county, training up to four times a week, playing once or twice a week, competing with their clubs.
These players are roll models for the youth of their community. They also have work and family commitments that take second place behind their sports for most of the year, and yet some feel that they receive very little back in return
Now I hear you say that “Nobody has forced them to play” and this is correct, but they are playing and giving their best and they feel that to achieve the best results possible they need to have a say in how their counties are managed.
Is this too much to ask?
Now I feel that the “Player Power” issue could be settled once and for all and consigned to the history books with one stroke of a pen. Now wait for it some of you are going to find what I am about to say very distressing indeed, others may need to sit down, take the weight off and pour yourself a stiff drink
Are you ready?
“PAY THE PLAYERS”
Intercounty hurlers and footballers should be paid hard cash for the efforts that they put in. The money in turn will increase their personal well-being and reduce the need for players to demand extra from their county boards and management
Do we ever hear of rugby players unhappy with their lot, or “League of Ireland” footballers? No we don’t. If they have issues with the way things are done they keep things in house, whereas GAA players feel that the only way that they can exact change is to bring things to a head on a local and national level, and I can only surmise that this in turn makes the GAA look at the least slow to react and the worst backward thinking
It is the summer of 2010 and I really want to look forward to a great championship season. I want the good weather and the cheering crowds and the adulation to go to the people who bring me to Cusack Park, or Park Tailteann or Croke Park, and that is the players.
These supreme athletes lay it all on the line week in week out for the love of the jersey. They should also be laying it on the line for a couple of hundred euros a match.