GAA stars left standing and hungry at All Stars awards
Some forced to watch event on TV in another room
There was considerable disappointment in Croke Park on Friday night when several All Star hurling nominees – including from All-Ireland finalists Clare and Cork – were left without seats for the televised awards ceremony.
"It was very badly organised and very unfair on those who had travelled a long way just for the event," one hurler told the Sunday Independent.
"It would have been nice to sit with the other lads, but when we went into the room there were no seats for us. We stood at the back for a while and then left. We watched it on a television in a function room."
Along with a lack of seats for the country's biggest GAA stars, it appears that there was a shortage of food for players, most of whom were hanging around for over six hours. Many of the players who won prestigious All Star awards had to return to their hotels to order room service after the ceremony.
The GAA's coffers had been boosted for a second year running by over €3m thanks to another drawn hurling final, and there was considerable disappointment on Friday night that players who made the summer such a success and spent hours at Friday night's function were only treated to finger food, mini burgers, fish and chips and nachos.
"I barely saw any food going around, we were in Croke Park all evening and we pretty much got nothing to eat. Everyone was starving," said one frustrated award winner who was forced to order room service.
"We put in so much work all year, not just in training and matches but also our diets and then we have to eat that kind of food. A lot of us still have big games coming up for our clubs so we just didn't eat the food that they served."
However, before the televised part of the awards a meal was served in Croke Park for 250 invitees, mostly corporate guests.
The GAA GPA All Stars presentation is always one of the highlights of the Gaelic games calendar but on Friday it descended into a farce for many of those who had travelled a long way to attend the event. "We were really looking forward to this event, I got a new dress, got my hair done, bought a ticket, paid for travel and hotel. Then we were served fish and chips and there wasn't even anywhere to eat them. We were standing around in our finery, trying to hold drinks, bags and eat food," said the mother of one nominee.
Another mother of a nominee complained that she had to pay for her finger food after the awards show had just finished.
However, Alan Milton, head of media relations with the GAA, said yesterday that neither the GAA nor GPA were aware of any players being "discommoded" for the televised part of what he described as "the All Stars banquet".
"This was the first year of an overhauled banquet and players were fed in casual surroundings before the television show – a departure from the long-standing practice of previous years," added Milton. "No grievances were expressed to either the GAA or the GPA regarding this format.
"The event as a whole will be reviewed in full in the coming weeks to ensure the experiences of this year's banquet are brought to bear on the organisation of what we hope will be a similarly successful event in 2014."