Sunday 24 September 2017

Darragh McManus: Big Apple player ban flies in face of GAA ethos

Sam Maguire and the 2012 All Stars head off to the US. Now the GAA wants to ban players from competitive matches if they emigrate
Sam Maguire and the 2012 All Stars head off to the US. Now the GAA wants to ban players from competitive matches if they emigrate
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

The GAA has always prided itself on how it has supported and nurtured the diaspora – and rightly so. It's probably the greatest expression of our culture, and stories are legion of emigrating Irish people finding a welcome from the nearest GAA club, in all manner of exotic locations. Even those with no previous connection to Gaelic games have found jobs, accommodation, a circle of friends and a way of holding on to their Irishness while carving out a new life abroad.

That makes it all the more disappointing that the association is proposing a new rule that prohibits inter-county players from joining New York clubs in mid-summer. The move was prompted by recent mass defections from Laois, Armagh and Offaly squads: once their teams exited the provincial championships, some players decided not to bother sticking around for qualifiers and hot-footed it across the Atlantic.

Really, what is the point of this rule? For starters, on the most basic level, what self-respecting team would want players to stay who don't wish to be there?

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