Saturday 10 December 2016

Club players must have their voices heard - Davis

Jackie Cahill

Published 02/03/2016 | 02:30

Two key motions at GAA Congress last weekend – to cut down on the number of championship replays and moving forward the All-Ireland finals by two weeks – failed to get through and the club calendar as it stands looks set to remain congested (Stock picture)
Two key motions at GAA Congress last weekend – to cut down on the number of championship replays and moving forward the All-Ireland finals by two weeks – failed to get through and the club calendar as it stands looks set to remain congested (Stock picture)

Former Cork All-Ireland winner Tony Davis has expressed grave concerns about the social, emotional and professional development of young GAA players.

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Davis stopped short of calling for a representative body for club players but he believes that county boards all over the country are failing them and must do more to ensure their voices are heard.

Two key motions at GAA Congress last weekend - to cut down on the number of championship replays and moving forward the All-Ireland finals by two weeks - failed to get through and the club calendar as it stands looks set to remain congested.

And Davis reckons that, if senior inter-county players were surveyed, very few, if any, would admit to enjoying what they do.

Davis, who won two All-Ireland football medals with Cork and also claimed All-Ireland club glory with O'Donovan Rossa in 1993, believes that not enough is being done to support club players going through difficult times.

He said: "I come across situations where people need support. I hear it all the time and it's fantastic that the GPA supports the elite player. They certainly need support because an awful lot of their self-worth is built around how they play, but the same support should be available for club players.

"They're not looked after at all. Where's the support structure for club players or the forum for them to express how they feel? Obviously what they're saying is going to Congress but then it's dispensed with. County boards aren't doing such a good job in representing what club players require.

Structure

"It needn't be a structure like the GPA but the voice of the club player needs to be heard. They need to be able to plan their year, have an enjoyable year, love their club and play the games they've loved since they were kids.

"That includes having two or three weeks off during the summer to go on holidays - and that goes for mentors, trainers and referees too.

"They tried to tighten the year to give the club players more leeway but it didn't happen. What worries me most of all about the whole inter-county and club scene is that inter-county is too serious and with the kids, I worry about their social, emotional and professional development, because it's a game that's meant to be enjoyed.

"I wonder if you did a survey of senior inter-county players, do they actually enjoy it? And if I'm a club player, first of all I want it to fit into my life, I want to have regular games, I work so I want to be able to plan my holidays, and I want it to be enjoyable and to have fun.

Meanwhile, Carlow hurler Richard Coady is taking his case against a three-month ban to the independent Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA). Coady was banned for alleged verbal abuse of the referee during a Walsh Cup tie against Wexford in January.

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