Thursday 22 August 2019

Cork club plan would be 'beginning of the end' say CPA as Wexford star O'Connor warns pay for play is on horizon

Michéal Briody, Chairman Club Players Association, and (inset) Rory O'Connor
Michéal Briody, Chairman Club Players Association, and (inset) Rory O'Connor
CPA chairman Micheál Briody. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Donnchadh Boyle and Michael Verney

On the day the Club Players Association (CPA) warned that putting any further distance between county players and their club would be "the beginning of the end" for the GAA, one of hurling's rising stars Rory O'Connor said that he expects players to be paid by the time he finishes up at inter-county level.

CPA chairman Micheál Briody was responding to the Cork proposal which suggested clubs in the county could play two matches without their county players. It was heavily defeated when it came before Cork County Board delegates on Tuesday night.

While Briody welcomed the conversation that the motion has started, he's adamant that any such move would have a detrimental effect on the GAA in the long term. "From our point of view, when you saw it first of all you thought it was inevitable something like that was going to be put out by a county or by clubs such is the disarray that exists," Briody said.

"And Cork is particularly prone because of the number of clubs and it being such a strong dual county.

"Our view is that it would be the beginning of the end for the GAA if you start playing club championship matches without your county players.

"And whilst it was an innovative proposal by the Cork committee that put it forward, it's the start of the end if you decouple your county player from your club completely.

"I can see it coming up in other counties as well if the whole master fixture plan and the current imbalance is not sorted."

Those views were echoed by Wexford youngster O'Connor. "If you forget who made you it's just going to go professional," the 20-year-old said.

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"It's always good to go back to your club to get cut in half and cut below the knees by club players telling you how bad you are with Wexford!

"But no, absolutely not. It's what makes the GAA a community-based thing, if you forget about the club and the county players don't play club, you're slowly going to lose links with it," said O'Connor (pictured).

"I don't understand how club players actually stick around for us and wait for us to come back, it's an awful thing.

"That's why the fixtures need to be looked at and I'm one of the ones saying that they need to be looked at but sure I can't even think of an alternative way of presenting the fixtures.

"But they're dead right to keep the county lads with the clubs."

The St Martin's clubman also revealed he expected players to be paid by the time he finished with the inter-county game.

"I'd say when I'm retiring there'll be lads starting off and they'll be on a wage, that's the way I think it's going anyway."

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