Dublin's success not down to money - GAA president John Horan defends Jim Gavin's men
GAA president John Horan has said the chief reason for Dublin's dominance is the work of voluntary coaches and not the funding the county has received over the past decade.
In the wake of declining attendances in the Leinster Football Championship, with just over 36,000 in Croke Park for last weekend's semi-finals, the GAA has faced criticism for how it funnelled funding into the capital in recent years.
Between 2007 and 2018, Dublin received almost €18m in games development funding, with Kildare and Meath receiving just over €1m over the same period. Accounting for population the rate of investment in Dublin was still more than double that of any other county, leading many to suggest the GAA's funding has been the chief cause of their footballers' dominance.
But Horan rejects that. "If anyone made a close examination of the Dublin senior teams you'd find out that an awful lot of the work that's going into the underage structure is being done by voluntary people and not by the paid coaches," he said.
"Dublin's success - a lot of it is based on voluntary effort and a games programme. Yeah, we do have the [paid] coaches going into schools and that is a benefit, but that project is 50 per cent funded by the clubs. Schools are the predominant area in which the paid coaches work and they work not alone in hurling and football but in camogie and ladies football as well."
Horan believes the decline in attendances will eventually be reversed. "You get these fluctuations," he said. "In my term as chairman of Leinster Council the hurling attendances were small and this weekend we've two sell-outs in Parnell Park and Wexford Park. These things go in cycles and I'm quite sure with the obvious improvement that's coming in both Kildare and Meath that Leinster will come back in time to be competitive."
Horan also revealed that he has given free rein to the GAA's Fixtures Calendar Review Task Force, which will meet for the first time next week and deliver its proposals by November. "I've given them terms of reference but I'm not tying hands," he said. "I want this debate to happen."
Horan also said the GAA is also examining ways to cut down on encroachment after several incidents of ill-discipline by support staff at inter-county level this year.
"We can't have that as an accepted norm in our game. I have a concern about these encroachments and the behaviour of some officials on the sideline. I think the punishment should be directed at the individual, not the county board. I'd be far more for the individual being removed from the vicinity of the playing area - we need that enforced."
Horan was speaking at the launch of the first international wheelchair hurling squad, which will see a 12-man panel travel to the 2019 European Para Games Floorball International in The Netherlands later this month.