Thursday 13 December 2018

'A crude device to try and devalue achievements' - Dublin GAA chief hits out at critics in annual report

28 August 2016; John Costello, Chief Executive, Dublin County Board, before the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final game between Dublin and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
28 August 2016; John Costello, Chief Executive, Dublin County Board, before the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final game between Dublin and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Dublin GAA chief executive John Costello has used his annual report to hit out at criticism of the county's funding as well as taking issue with media coverage of Jim Gavin's team.

Under Gavin's stewardship, Dublin won their fourth All-Ireland title in-a-row in 2018, and their sixth in eight years. The county footballlers are enjoying their greatest ever decade but writing in his annual report, Costello expressed his dissatisfaction with some of the reaction to Dublin's latest triumph, in particular criticism directed towards some of the players and managaement that they are 'robotic' in their demeanor. 

"Some of the commentary on our senior footballers and management was eye-catching and I think it would be remiss of me not to let it pass unchallenged," Costello wrote.

"Words such as 'robots', 'automatons', 'emotionless' were used, by a small group of commentators, to describe our management and players on several occasions this summer.

"I am not sure what purpose this fulfils for some commentators? When we were less successful, we were ridiculed for being too showy etc. - now it's the opposite.

"Perhaps Jim Gavin should run up and down the sideline during games gesturing to the crowd or throwing water bottles around to show his 'passion' or a senior ranking county board official should run to Hill 16 after some victory and throw their tie into the famous terrace?"

After Dublin's All-Ireland final victory, some commentators raised the issue of how much funding the county gets, and asking how big a role the money is playing in this era of unprecedented success. Independent.ie columnist Ewan MacKenna has tackled this topic, arguing that the funding level in the capital is skewed, since Dublin are also able to attract more marquee sponsors than other counties.

However, Costello denies that the money they receive from the GAA and the Leinster Council is driving Dublin's All-Ireland victories, and says that grassroots participation is the big beneficiary from the funding.

He added that to link Dublin's financial clout with the success of Jim Gavin's side was 'mischievous'.

"The subject of Dublin's games development grants is another crude device used by some to try and devalue the achievements of Dublin's senior footballers this decade, those who want to engage in some alt-history of this decade," he said.

"The money Dublin has received has been invested in our Games Development programme solely at nursery and juvenile level. Our Go Games programme alone, over the last 10 years, has seen a participation growth of 58% in football and 98% in hurling and 11,500 fixtures scheduled annually for children in the Under 8 to Under 12 age groups.

"However, to draw a simple straight line, some linear equation, directly connecting this investment at nursery/juvenile level and the success of Dublin’s senior footballers years later is inaccurate. I have read articles using the figures of adult players in the capital to suggest that the grants have been invested in our adult games and indeed directly towards our senior footballers and hurlers. This is untrue and at best is mischievous."

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