Monday 5 December 2016

GAA stars are unpaid professionals who are suffering as human beings - Joe Brolly

Published 13/05/2015 | 18:00

All Ireland winner Kieran Donaghy with former Derry All Ireland winner Joe Brolly
All Ireland winner Kieran Donaghy with former Derry All Ireland winner Joe Brolly

Joe Brolly has warned the GAA that they must act now to prevent young players’ lives being lost to the “professional” demands they now endure.

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Kieran Donaghy became the latest high-profile to announce he will give up his full-time job to concentrate on his role with the Kerry football team.

As exclusively revealed in this morning’s Irish Independent, Donaghy will leave his job in Ulster Bank at the end of this week and devote his time exclusively to his sport and his family over the summer.

Sunday Independent columnist Joe Brolly has been very vocal in his stance against the demands of modern-day football and today he told Independent.ie: “Players are unpaid professionals now. It’s the point I have been making  for some time, players are now caught up in a professional system that has no regard for their healthy development as human beings.

“It’s a professional system that we have allowed to develop and it has become an obsession, it obliterates every other part of a person’s life and players lives are basically on hold from the ages of 20 to 28 and it is getting worse.”

While Brolly has been quick to highlight the problems that a professional ethos generates, he feels it will only get worse unless the GAA intervenes now.

“Kerry are one of the most highly professional squads in the country and this is the way it is going. It is going to get worse, there is no doubt about that. It is getting worse, there is no time to have a normal life and we know that.

“Karl Lacey, Darran O’Sullivan, Kieran Donaghy and then there are other players who haven’t come out to say they are not working.

“They are getting wee jobs looking after a gym or getting a wee hand-out here and there working as a Sky ambassador or getting a wee coaching job just to tide them over. What happens when they are 30. Do you know what happens when they are 30? Nobody gives a f**k.

“The hierarchy, rather than pretending that everything is fine, need to get moving on this very, very, very quickly because it is a race to the bottom now.”

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