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New GAA president John Horan plans national club committee and forum

The Club Players Association (CPA) appear to have been shown short shrift for a second time today after incoming GAA president John Horan’s inaugural speech.

Addressing Congress, the Na Fianna man announced he would be establishing a national club committee as well as a club forum, while he rejected suggestions that there was a disconnect between Croke Park and the grassroots of the GAA.

The CPA were dealt a blow early in the afternoon when their motion, via Wexford, for more voting transparency at Congress was overwhelmingly dismissed by delegates.

Horan appeared to take aim again when he said: “In my travels in preparation for the role of Uachtarán, I have met hundreds of club people from large, medium and small clubs and at times I have heard talk of a perceived disconnect between them and the Association in Croke Park.

"I would refute that any such disconnect exists. We have a dedicated staff here in Croke Park who aside from the roles they play in their professional lives, are practically all involved in their own local GAA clubs.

John Horan who today became the 39th Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael at the GAA Annual Congress 2018 at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

"Bu I do believe that it is vital that our Club people feel that connection and that is why I will be advocating the establishment of a National Club Committee to review and enhance the tangible supports we offer our clubs."

Revealing his plans for a National Club Forum, Horan added: “I propose staging a National Club Forum where club representatives will be invited to come to Croke Park to discuss the issues and matters that pertain to their specific area of activity.

"Crucially clubs will get the opportunity to discuss the challenges and difficulties they face on the ground and hopefully lead to a climate of problem-sharing and problem-solving."

He insisted the retention of the amateur status would not be addressed by rule changes or new rules but the attitude and culture of clubs and counties while he spoke of plans to revamp the GAA Official Guide to make it more user-friendly, something the playing rules committee had signalled previously.

He also called on counties who have tapped “this growing overseas GAA network for support” to “show some respect to the GAA communities in these cites and show them support also”.