Delaney's 'trafficking' fears
The "trafficking" of promising club players from one county to another could reach epidemic proportions, a leading GAA official warned yesterday.
Leinster Council Chief Executive Michael Delaney, in his annual report to convention, has highlighted the growing concern of players transferring to bigger clubs within his own province.
Dublin clubs in particular have reaped the benefits of this movement, with clubs in Delaney's own county, Laois, losing a number of players in the last 12 months, particularly to the northside Dublin club Parnells where Colm Begley, Colm Parkinson and Darren Rooney now play.
Delaney said movement was always a factor as players sought to better themselves and challenge themselves more by moving away from weaker clubs. But the trend is growing out of proportion.
"It's happening within counties, but because of local bye-laws and/or strong leadership, it can be curtailed," he says.
"Most worrying is the trafficking of promising players from clubs in one county to clubs in another county. This is becoming rampant in Leinster and must be a cause of great concern among county officials."
He highlights too that "rumours of inducements such as jobs or accommodation abound but, of course, can never be proven.
"The suffering clubs, understandably in the present economic climate, are reluctant to rock the boat. That, though, does not make the practice acceptable. I do not have a solution to the problem, but I do know that unless it is addressed soon it will become an epidemic. Our smaller, weaker clubs are entitled to expect leadership and protection in this issue."
Delaney uses his report to once again float his desire to see the number of inter-county competitions stripped back because of rising costs for County Boards.
"In my opinion the only solution is to reduce inter-county activity. For many years I have questioned the value of junior and intermediate county championships, special competitions, shield competitions and even the U-21 grade.
"To this mix I would now add my reservations abut the value of the qualifier competitions and the provision of separate league competitions for those counties involved in the Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cup competitions," he says. "I honestly think we must seriously examine our inter-county competitions schedule."