Saturday 16 December 2017

Rugby money has come at a cost

Even GAA Presidents can lose the run of themselves when euphoria takes over.

On Saturday morning, as the IRFU prepared for their departure from Croke Park later that day, Christie Cooney stated that the recent series of games had absolutely no negatives and was a great success for all concerned.

As a vehement opponent himself to letting in rugby and soccer, he seems to think there was no downside -- but of course there was.

Rugby has had unprecedented success throughout Ireland in the past four years and while the quality of the Irish team was a big factor, there is absolutely no doubt that the Croke Park scenario was an even bigger influence.

Hundreds of thousands of GAA people

became familiar with rugby at close range for the first time and they liked what they saw.

It was the best PR promotion ever offered to a rival sporting organisation by the GAA.

Rugby is now coached in nearly all the traditional GAA colleges and die-hard GAA people follow the Irish team as strongly as their local county GAA team.

Personally, I believe this competition is good for the GAA, but they should be aware that the millions of Euro they have earned from rugby has come at a price and, presumably, they will use some of this money to compete for the hearts and minds of young players in the ever-growing contest between Gaelic games and rugby.

Irish Independent

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