Saturday 21 April 2018

Park united ease into fourth round of Cup

PARK cruised into the fourth round of the Munster Junior Cup with this convincing win over Premier A League opposition. While the visitors scored first, Park's finishing and fitness made the difference and they ran out comfortable winners.


THIRD ROUND Park United 5 Blackstone Rovers 1

Blackstone went ahead early in the game but Stevie Fox made it one-all when he toe-poked home on a Kenneth Barry corner kick. Shane Beston made the second goal for himself when he persevered to get through the Blackstone defence and he slotted his shot to the left of the advancing keeper to make it 2-1 to Park on 35 minutes. Central midfielder Kieran Welsh got the third on the hour with a good solo run and finish.

By then Park were comfortable and they made plenty of goal opportunities over the remainder of the game. Second half substitute Dave Dineen took full advantage of this dominance and his game time to pick off to two good goals in the last fifteen minutes.

This win made it four on the trot for Park in all competitions. They return to Premier League action this Saturday with a home game against leaders Greenwood. WHAT part of under thecounter don't they get in Croke Park?

The news from GAA headquarters this week is that counties' books will be checked by a specialist firm (presumably an accountacy firm) to ensure their compliance with the GAA's amateur code and you know what? We'd be 100% certain that these firms will discover absolutely no evidence of payments to managers.

You know what else? If they conducted one of these checks at any time in the last ten or twenty years they'd similarly have found absolutely no evidence of payments to managers by County Boards beyond legitimate expenses for mileage and the like.

County Board chairmen and treasurers don't now, or probably ever have, sign cheques facilitating illegal payments to managers. It's called under the counter for a reason.

So what's this all about? Saving face, being seen to be doing something about a problem that people much prefer to talk about in the abstract rather than in practical terms.

When previous president Christy Cooney commissioned his report into the issue most of imagined it would be forgotten about as soon as it published. The usual platitudes about the amateur ethos and some bland reccomendations about how to root it out of the association.

In fairness the final report when it came wasn't that at all. There was some of the amateur ethos stuff (nothing wrong with that, the amateur ethos is geniunely something to cherish), but the reccomendations went beyond what we would have imagined.

The report even gave voice to a school of thought that suggests managers should be paid and paid up front and above board. Most people (ourselves included) wouldn't be in favour of that. Still it was brave of the committee to reccomend such an approach, albeit in abstract form, in their report.

The other two options reccomended were: to do nothing (given all the hoopla that was a non runners) or to do something serious about the issue, which is what GAA President Liam O'Neill (

would argue that this latest move is. Don't buy it. It's not. It's something designed to give the impression they're doing something.

Designed to show GAA supporters and officials and players that the GAA doesn't stand for this, but, perhaps, more importantly to show the Revenue Comissioners that they're doing something about it. That's the biggest worry for the GAA: that the Revenue Comissioners will take a serious interest in this.

They tend to take the nonpayment of tax rather seriously in Dublin Castle and whether or not the payment of managers is sanctioned by the GAA is irrelevant to them. What matters is that payment for services rendered has not been declared to them. Income tax for the manager involved and for the County Board – or whoever else is doing the paying – PRSI and the like.

If the Revenue starts to take a serious interest in this – and this being a recession there's a good chance of that – then a whole huge can of worms is going to be opened up and that's the last thing the GAA wants to happen and you know what else? If it happens they'll be partially to blame for it for drawing attention to it in the first place.