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CPA formally disband after declaring their ‘work is done’

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Joan Kehoe, CPA Executive member, Michael Higgins, CPA Secretary, Michéal Briody, CPA Chairman, and Liam Griffin, CPA Executive member, during the Club Players Association press conference at the Carlton Hotel in November, 2019. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Joan Kehoe, CPA Executive member, Michael Higgins, CPA Secretary, Michéal Briody, CPA Chairman, and Liam Griffin, CPA Executive member, during the Club Players Association press conference at the Carlton Hotel in November, 2019. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Joan Kehoe, CPA Executive member, Michael Higgins, CPA Secretary, Michéal Briody, CPA Chairman, and Liam Griffin, CPA Executive member, during the Club Players Association press conference at the Carlton Hotel in November, 2019. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

The Club Players’ Association (CPA) has formally disbanded, declaring their “work is done” after GAA Congress formally adopted a split season that will provide distinct windows for county and club activity.

At an extraordinary general meeting on Monday night, the CPA brought their four-year campaign to an end, taking a decision to disband.

“With Congress at the weekend making the historic decision to institute a split-season model, the CPA Executive considers its task is now complete,” a statement read.

“The responsibility is now with GAA Management directed by An Uachtarán, Larry McCarthy, and Ard-Stiúrthóir, Tom Ryan, to implement Congress’s unanimous and democratic decision. And it is the role of club and county players and officials to monitor the delivery of the new fixture arrangements and hold the association accountable,” it continued.

The CPA outlined that they were established in 2016 and launched in early 2017 “to lobby and campaign on the single issue of fixing the fixtures for all players. This was driven by alarm bells over GAA player participation and drop-out levels. It was due to serious concerns related to players’ physical and mental well-being, because of the demands and uncertainty of the playing season.”

They had initially flagged a desire to see All-Ireland finals conclude much earlier so that club players could plan their activities better.

“We advocated a split-season approach as a sensible, fair and logical solution to the fixtures issue, and we warmly welcome Congress’s decision, though overdue.

“A rising tide lifts all boats, and over recent years, despite the ebb and flow of debate, the tide of public opinion and the stream of discussion in the GAA has brought all parties to this destination. It is a time for optimism,” their statement read.

“Our reasoning has always been that the right approach to fixtures would provide a vastly improved platform for participation in our games for all players at all levels. With that objective achieved, the time is right to step away.”

The CPA had a fractious relationship at times with GAA management – their desire for official recognition at Congress in 2017 did not go to a vote when it became apparent that support was not there – but paid tribute to their efforts and those of the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) in their parting statement.

The CPA suggested any group of like-minded people in the association could lobby for a cause like they did, floating the prospect of a ‘joint-captains association’ to repeal the new provision for only one captain to lift a cup at an official presentation.

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