Paudie Palmer on why club players will benefit from the defined split season

Once the backdoor swung open at inter-county, the squeeze was put on the majority of GAA members
Paudie Palmer on why club players will benefit from the defined split season

Nemo Rangers' Barry O'Driscoll takes on Valley Rovers' Kevin Canty during the Bon Secours Cork Premier SFC at Cloughduv last season. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

FIRSTLY, our congratulations to the Bishopstown native, Larry McCarthy on being elected the 40th president of the GAA.

Even though he would have wished that his elevation to high office was in different circumstances, I presume that he had to be rather pleased that all 38 motions on Saturday’s clár received the thumbs-up emoji.

The controversial one in relation to accepting that there are cynical buachaillí out there swinging hurleys even got over the line, despite a late rally by some of those who like to breathe the higher moral air.

Would it have happened, if this was a normal Congress? Don’t underestimate the ability of some of these guys to work the floor as has been the practice in the past.

Now for our first piece of advice for Larry, in your three years, can we ask you, to please ensure parity of esteem in both codes. Yes, I do understand that hurling and football are two different sports, but some of the practices in the past were both ridiculous and unfair.

Bishopstown man Larry McCarthy is the new GAA president.
Bishopstown man Larry McCarthy is the new GAA president.

If for example, the age limit changes for one code, it should automatically change for the other. If the structure of a competition changes to allow more games for teams, these changes must apply again to both codes.

Being away from the shores for the best part of 40 years, I would like to reassure you that the species who think that Gaelic football is for lesser souls are still in our midst and have not become extinct since you departed.

The motion, courtesy of Sars-Cov-2 that now gives official recognition to the split-season is so welcome but I was rather surprised that it didn’t receive universal acclaim.

At least one contributor to this publication was of the opinion that it ensured that the club players are now the victims of sporting apartheid which deems them lesser beings. Really! 

A little context, when the GAA decided about 20 years ago, that qualifiers would become part of the inter-county scene, that was probably the beginning of club players moving down the food chain.

At the time, the argument was made that inter-county teams deserved a second chance and as importantly, it would present an opportunity to generate more finance.

Nobody protested too much and whether or not it could have be predicated back then, the inter-county bandwagon had begun.

A combination of weak administration coupled with the growth in the status of the intercounty manager over the intervening time period had the effect of greatly reducing the time scale available to the club player.

It would be unfair not to point out that this scenario did lead to serious levels of media exposure but at, what price?

So to imply that the passing of Saturday’s motion was a bleak day for the club player is at a minimum, a tad inaccurate. Suggestions that the club and county scene can coexist during the summer months is not practical.

Sadly or otherwise that boat departed the harbour a good few years back.

This passing of this motion was both necessary and welcome in saving GAA from itself and I have no doubt it will be greatly welcomed by those who wear the colours of their local clubs.

PJ Dennehy, Michael King, Allan McNamara and Cathal O'Connor supporting Sarsfields U16s against Kiltha Óg last summer. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
PJ Dennehy, Michael King, Allan McNamara and Cathal O'Connor supporting Sarsfields U16s against Kiltha Óg last summer. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

POSITIVE MOVE

Another motion that came to the column’s attention was the one that has put dates on when the Sigerson (seventh Sunday of the year), the Fitzgibbon (eighth Sunday) and the All-Ireland Post Primary Post-Primary Schools Finals (St Patrick’s Day) must be completed.

Nothing unusual here you might suggest, except that when this motion came to congress 12 months ago, it carried an addendum which would have meant the end of the road for the All-Ireland Post Primary School C and D competitions.

Thankfully, a number of counties including Cork ensured that said motion was deferred and when it re-emerged for Congress 2021, common sense had prevailed.

Back to our cynical motion which will result in a penalty being awarded if a player is denied a clear cut goal scoring chance by a cynical action by an opponent inside the 20-metre line.

The question now, could we have pundits on future Sunday Game programmes supplying us with statistics that show that some county teams appear to earn more penalties than others.

A few weeks ago somebody starting peddling the narrative that Man Utd were being awarded more penalties than other Premier League teams. Some Utd fans, in particular, are of the opinion, that since this began, their team have been denied a number of stone-wall penalties including one against Chelsea on Sunday last!

GREAT INITIATIVE

Finally, can we bring to your attention an event which will take place on Thursday night next March 11, at 7.30pm online and which is hosted by Courcey Rovers GAA club in association with Kinsale Community School and Kinsale Youth Youth Support Services.

It is a webinar of honest and open discussion around nurturing emotional wellbeing and personal growth. The organisers would like to invite people of all ages and communities throughout the county to join them on the night.

It is open to all with the minimum age/group being Transition Year.

The event will have several guests involved on the night, and following introductions from local GAA figures it will feature a conversation with Conor Cusack who is now well known and respected as an emotional health advocate.

There will also be inputs from a range of community members such as Cork Camogie Captain, Linda Collins, Ger Rice of Kinsale Youth Support Services as well as a representative from the Croke Park National Healthy Clubs Project Team.

The organisers are hoping the webinar will engage the audience with key messages on how to nurture your own emotional wellbeing but perhaps also to provide support to someone and signpost them to the appropriate services that are available.

If you would like to join this well worth webinar, you can visit www.courceyrovers.com to find the link.

Best wishes to all involved.

Contact: paudie.palmer@hotmail.com Twitter @paudiep

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