Sunday 22 January 2017

Niall Moyna believes Bryan Cullen's new Dublin role is 'blueprint' for GAA

Published 12/01/2016 | 02:30

Moyna considers the new role is a worthwhile long-term investment by Dublin Photo: SPORTSFILE
Moyna considers the new role is a worthwhile long-term investment by Dublin Photo: SPORTSFILE

Dublin have broken the mould by appointing former All-Ireland-winning captain Bryan Cullen as the county's first high performance manager.

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That's the verdict of Professor Niall Moyna, the DCU GAA team manager and head of the School of Health and Human Performance at the college. And, with no pun intended, Moyna reckons that by taking this step, the Dubs have set out a blueprint for the rest of the country.

Cullen, 31, enjoyed a distinguished and honours-laden career with Dublin, with the high point his captaincy of Pat Gilroy's All-Ireland-winning team of 2011.

He retired from inter-county football last year but for the last four years was head of strength and conditioning with Leinster Rugby.

The Skerries Harps clubman also completed a PhD in DCU, so he offers an all-round package of expertise to Dublin GAA.

Moyna considers the new role is a worthwhile long-term investment by Dublin, and that if it became the norm, could save counties huge amounts of money.

"I advocated that a decade ago at the first GAA conference.

"The money they're spending currently on medical fees is just ridiculous.

"I think it's €15 million to €18 million a year the GAA is spending on medical issues, and they're paying strength and conditioning teams for minor, U-21 and senior.

"Why not bring in one person who oversees all of this, and it would be cost-neutral to every county? It's a no-brainer.

"They're going to save from having to employ all of these strength and conditioning people for every team that they have, and they can follow and track these kids to make sure that they add longevity to their careers.

"I think that's very important. I'd be excited about the move," said Moyna.

Gaelic games technically remain amateur, but the pressure for success and improvement by teams inevitably means that county managers at all levels operate on a relatively short-term basis. The turnover of managers and their backroom teams is a never-ending roller coaster.

"When you think about it, a manager comes in, and if I was a manager, I'd be in the same boat.

"You get a two- or three-year contract. You don't care what happens in year three. You're there to produce the goods, so you don't care about the long-term development of the players.

"What Dublin have done is one of the smartest things, and I hope every other county sees that as a blueprint for the way forward, because I think they'll save financially in the long run, and they'll have their players for a much longer period of time," said Moyna.

Cullen attended the O'Byrne Cup match between Dublin and DCU which Jim Gavin's team won by four points. They play Longford away next Sunday.

Irish Independent

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