'The GAA are not in a position to offer him a job'
Kettle insists Dublin could do little to prevent captain Cullen taking up Leinster rugby position
Published 22/09/2011 | 05:00
DUBLIN County Board chairman Andy Kettle does not believe that the GAA have missed a trick in losing the skills of All-Ireland-winning captain Bryan Cullen to rugby.
The Skerries Harps man is one of the most marketable members of the Dublin squad, having become the first man from the capital to lift the Sam Maguire cup in 16 years.
But with the association in the capital looking to exploit their success last weekend, the image of Cullen wearing the harp of Leinster rather than the castle of Dublin on his tracksuit as he prepares the next generation of young rugby players is seen in some quarters as a lost opportunity.
The 27-year-old did not wish to discuss the new role he has been offered as Leinster Rugby's sub-academy fitness supremo when he paraded the Sam Maguire in front of his alma mater at Dublin City University (DCU) yesterday.
But after the spending around €2m on their inter-county teams this season, there are some involved in Dublin GAA who will see Cullen's move into rugby coaching as losing a marquee name to a rival sport.
However, Cullen is currently studying for a PhD in Exercise Physiology and is at the elite level of the strength and conditioning world after spending the best part of a decade under the tutelage of Niall Moyna in DCU.
Kettle pointed out that employment opportunities within the field are limited, meaning Cullen needed to take the chance to develop his coaching skills at the elite level with Leinster.
"Not at all," Kettle said when asked if he felt Dublin GAA was losing out by the move. "Bryan Cullen is a person in the jobs market, he has a sports PhD and needs experience. He applied for a job that was advertised and we understand that he was offered that job.
"It is his chosen field and there are not that many jobs in that field. As an amateur organisation, we are not in a position to offer him that opportunity."
Leinster are not commenting on the story, but Cullen is expected to sign the contract that has been offered to him and begin his new role in the coming weeks. When he does, he will be charged with providing strength and conditioning training to the young members of Leinster's sub-academy and liaise with the coaches running underage school and club teams around the province.
Kettle does not see the GAA in Dublin as being in competition with the Heineken Cup champions, believing the two can live side-by-side, echoing the view of the province's manager Guy Easterby.
"Ireland is a sporting country," he said. "Look at Limerick city as an example where all sports live in harmony."