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Connellan calls on boycott of Leinster unless funding disparities tackled


Former Westmeath player John Connellan wants to see the inequalities of Leinster football addressed

Former Westmeath player John Connellan wants to see the inequalities of Leinster football addressed

Former Westmeath player John Connellan wants to see the inequalities of Leinster football addressed

A former Westmeath footballer has called on all county boards to demand "a fair allocation" of central GAA funds after witnessing Dublin's latest Leinster demolition of a once competitive rival.

"Leinster football is, to all intents and purposes, dead. It's not dying," declared John Connellan, who has penned an open letter stretching to almost 1,500 words in an attempt to ignite a serious debate about the GAA's funding model and the disparities it has helped to create.

"It is a once great competition that can no longer be considered a viable entity due to Dublin's dominance."

Connellan, an older brother of current Westmeath star Ray, was responding to Dublin's record 21-point victory over Meath, thereby securing a tenth consecutive Leinster SFC title and their 15th in the last 16 seasons.

He claimed that, under the status quo, players are "being robbed of meaningful inter-county careers" and that "as a GAA community, our inaction is failing them."

And in the event that the GAA hierarchy fails to make "significant changes", he encouraged county boards to take the ultimate step of not sending players "to compete in a competition where they are set up to fail".

Harking back to the noughties, when the GAA under president Seán Kelly initiated a games development programme to revitalise Gaelic Games in the capital, the Athlone man argued that Dublin GAA is now "largely self-sustainable".

"It is on that basis that I would call on county boards across the country, but more immediately in Leinster, to demand a fair allocation of centrally-administered GAA resources," he expanded.


"The committee established under Seán Kelly recognised that the GAA in the capital was under threat and it jumped to immediate and affirmative action.

"The GAA is failing to recognise, or is wilfully obtuse to the fact, that the GAA is, and has been, under serious threat in all of the other counties in Leinster for quite some time now.

"All we are asking is for the GAA to take the same action to address the threats faced by all the other counties outside the capital which are every bit as important as those faced by Dublin GAA back in 2003."

Connellan called on counties to "demand immediate action and parity", and implored players and the GPA to "demand change".

"We are year in and year out sending hugely committed and talented footballers out to run in a race in which they are starting 200 metres behind the eventual winner.

"We all owe current and future players, and supporters, a duty of care to address the inequity which has been created, and to bring meaningful proposals to the GAA on how to address these inequities," he continued.

"I would encourage all of the county boards in Leinster to come together and discuss potential proposals to bring to the GAA. I believe that we must all be united on this front if we are to cause the GAA to take any meaningful action.

"Failing the GAA's agreement to make significant changes, I would encourage county boards to stop the practice of sending players, who give so much to the cause of their counties, to compete in a competition where they are set up to fail.


"The GAA have too much to lose through TV image rights et cetera not to listen. Instead, invest the monies allocated to prepare your teams for the Leinster Championship in competing to the highest level in your respective leagues. Invest in your Club Championship, which this summer has shown to be the jewel in the GAA's crown."

During his own county career, Connellan knew what it was like to suffer in Dublin's slipstream. He scored 0-4 from play in the 2009 Leinster semi-final - and still ended up on the wrong side of a 27-point hammering, 4-26 to 0-11.

He also appeared off the bench in the 2016 provincial final as Dublin pressed on the accelerator after half-time to win by 15 points, 2-19 to 0-10.