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Dublin put Vodafone on hold to aid suicide awareness

Dublin will drop the logo of their sponsors Vodafone for their opening matches in the hurling and football leagues to help promote the work of mental health charity Suicide or Survive (SOS).

Vodafone and Dublin County Board announced the initiative ahead of Saturday week's opening game in the Spring Series, a repeat of last year's All-Ireland final.

The hurlers will also wear the SOS logo for their opening league match against Galway two weeks later.

"We didn't have to think twice when Vodafone came to us with the idea of swapping their logo for that of the Suicide or Survive charity for these games," said Dublin chief executive John Costello at the launch.

Dublin won't be the first football team to wear the logo of a charity instead of sponsors. Since last year, Galway footballers have entered into a successful partnership with Cancer Care West.

Meanwhile, Dublin chairman Andy Kettle has warned of the dangers of professionalism if the GAA signs up to paying its inter-county managers.

Kettle attended last Saturday's meeting of county chairmen and secretaries, where there was initial discussion on the document on the amateur status and payments to managers.

He feels strongly that any move towards payments will diminish the association's greatest strength, and he doesn't rule out a backlash from players either.

Asked whether changing the existing rules on the amateur status could push open doors to payments to players, Kettle said that it was "a possibility."

"I would fear that payments to managers would be another reason why the association moves towards semi-professionalism. That's something I would not like to see in my lifetime," he said.

"I'm against it. I come from the voluntary ethos. I think it is a unique part of our association."

Kettle has also expressed sympathy for the family and club of Round Towers footballer Ciaran Carr, who died suddenly while training with his club on Friday night.

The Dublin chairman said that action to provide screening for players at club level may have to be pursued on the back of this latest tragedy.

"We all know the Tyrone story (Cormac McAnallen) -- yes, there needs to be something done, but there is a cost and whether clubs can bear that cost or not, I'm not quite sure.

"I would ask the question, have our changed training methods anything to do with it? I'm not qualified to give an opinion, but I would like an opinion sought on that."

Kettle has raised a general question as to whether amateur players are being pushed too hard.

"Overall, there are many questions that have to be raised," the Dublin chairman said. "And I feel they should be examined."

Irish Independent