Tuesday 22 October 2019

Dublin football stars commanding hefty fees for promotional appearances


Jim Gavin. Photo: Sportsfile
Jim Gavin. Photo: Sportsfile

Martin Breheny and Michael Verney

The extraordinary success enjoyed by the Dublin footballers since 2011 has sent the players' earning power soaring to levels never previously seen in the history of the GAA with as much as €6,000 for a single promotional appearance, depending on the player and the company involved.

These startling revelations come at a time when Dublin's dominance in Leinster is driving down attendances, with the public opting to save their cash for more competitive games in their 'drive for five'.

The Irish Independent has learned that the representative of one Dublin player recently gave €6,000 as the price for a promotional appearance.

It highlights the contrast between successful players living in the capital and their counterparts around the country where such lofty figures would never be considered for a promotional appearance of any kind.

The asking price for Dublin players has increased year-by-year as they built up their All-Ireland haul and with a record-breaking five-in-row now seen as more probable than possible, it is seen by many as cash-in time.

An industry source estimates that if Dublin complete the five-timer, the asking price for appearances at the top end of the market will reach €10,000 for the higher-profile players.

While it's bonanza time for Jim Gavin's Dubs, the Leinster Council are feeling the downside of blue dominance with crowds dropping to a degree that could never have been foreseen some years ago. Fewer than 30,000 are expected to go through the turnstiles in Croke Park tomorrow for their Leinster SFC semi-final clash with Kildare (4.0).

Gavin will be able to call upon All-Star attacker Paul Mannion for their meeting with the Lilies after he had the red card picked up in their quarter-final defeat of Louth rescinded.

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Armagh had no such luck in overturning the red card shown to Brendan Donaghy in last weekend's Ulster SFC semi-final draw with Cavan, however, and Orchard boss Kieran McGeeney must plan without him for tomorrow's replay in Clones (4.0), barring an 11th-hour appeal to the Disputes Resolution Authority.

Meanwhile, Wexford GAA is in mourning following the passing of Model legend Ned Wheeler at the age of 87 after a short illness.

While his inter-county career spanned from 1949 to 1965, Wheeler, a supremely talented forward, will be most famously remembered for his role on Wexford's great hurling team that won All-Ireland titles in 1955, 1956, and 1960.

Elsewhere, Galway boss Micheál Donoghue has shuffled the deck for tomorrow's crucial Leinster SHC showdown with Kilkenny in Nowlan Park (2.0), with Johnny Glynn set to fill the No 11 jersey vacated by injured talisman Joe Canning.

Glynn made a huge impact off the bench as the Tribesmen flattered to deceive in their disappointing draw with Wexford two weeks ago, while John Hanbury also starts in defence and regular corner-back Adrian Tuohey is unusually named in attack.

The out-of-form trio of Johnny Coen, Niall Burke and Conor Cooney are the players to lose out while Kilkenny boss Brian Cody has been dealt a blow with Walter Walsh not passed fit to start for the Cats having picked up an injury against Carlow three weeks ago.

His place is taken by Billy Ryan while Limerick manager John Kiely has recalled Diarmaid Byrnes to his starting line-up as the All-Ireland champions welcome Clare to the LIT Gaelic Grounds tomorrow (4.0).

The towering Patrickswell defender comes in at wing-back for Dan Morrissey in the only change for the Treaty, while the Banner recall Conor Cleary in the half-back line with David Fitzgerald the one to make way.

Meanwhile, there is no place in the Waterford starting 15 for Déise legend Michael 'Brick' Walsh in the side that face Cork tonight (7.0) in what could be his last game in the blue and white after a stellar inter-county career.

Austin Gleeson, the 2016 Hurler of the Year, also failed to make the cut as Páraic Fanning looks to finish a disastrous campaign on a positive note against the Rebels, for whom Alan Cadogan starts in attack.

Irish Independent

The Throw-In: 'Jim Gavin has achieved what Mick O'Dwyer and Brian Cody couldn't do'

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