Club ambitions must embrace both codes to achieve real success
It's the time of year again where the focal point of the GAA, the club, has its six weeks in the sun as county finals and provincial club championships take centre stage.
Increasingly, clubs are following inter-county standards, as high levels of skill, fitness and dedication ensure that the club championship is secondary only in terms of exposure to the All-Ireland championship.
As standards increase, so do the demands. Players sign up to it, but there is a worrying increase of tension within clubs over whether they should focus on hurling or football.
The argument is that both can't be done effectively and there must be a focus on one in order to be successful. But let's break that down to its most fundamental part; how that strain of thought plays out in real life for the player and the consequence of such a decision.
In a hurling-orientated club, football suffers and vice versa. So, for argument's sake, let's say the club decides that the focus is "when we're out of the hurling we'll train for football."
This means that I effectively say to my brother, or any of my friends whose first love is football, that they must come in and help me to achieve my dream of a county hurling championship, but I'll give only a little back in return.
They are supposed to sacrifice their dreams to help 'the club,' but the place they go for an avenue to express themselves in the way that they love, takes more than it give back.
That's not a club that is represen-tative of a community.
If success comes at the expense of the dreams of our friends and team-mates, it could be time to reevaluate what we term 'success'.
Give me a group of players giving everything they can to everyone in the club, win lose or draw, any day. The bond that develops among players is tangible and as a natural by-product, success will follow – whatever way you view it.