Saturday 24 August 2019

'It's a**eboxing of the highest order' - Former Dublin boss slams 'cheap-shot' attacks over funding

Former Dublin and Offaly manager insists 'disingenuous' critics are talking nonsense

Former Dublin boss Tommy Lyons
Former Dublin boss Tommy Lyons
Former Dublin manager Tommy Lyons
Former Dublin manager Tommy Lyons. Picture credit: Dire Brennan / Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Tommy Lyons has waded into the debate on Dublin GAA funding, accusing critics of being "disingenuous with their cheap shots" and not facing up to reality.

"It's a**eboxing of the highest order. Just because an exceptional Dublin senior football team, led by an exceptional manager, is going well people are having a go. Fine, if that's what they want to do, but let's stick with facts, not stuff that just doesn't hold up," said Lyons, a former Dublin and Offaly manager.

"Look at Dublin's record at minor level in football and hurling. They're not exactly dominating the All-Irelands. If loads of money is being thrown at Dublin, why isn't it showing at that level?

"It's easy to take figures in isolation, link them to Dublin footballers winning senior All-Irelands and come up with ridiculous conclusions."

Dublin last won the minor football All-Ireland in 2012, which was their first since 1984, while they haven't won a minor hurling title since 1965.

Lyons believes that much of the criticism over the funding for Dublin from central funds misses the point.

"Whether people accept it or not, getting youngsters to play football and hurling in Dublin is a big challenge. A lot of the best players will play soccer," he said.

"Paul Mannion was a soccer international (schoolboys level) before committing to GAA. Rugby is getting bigger all the time - especially in the south of the city. So what's the GAA to do?

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"Bow to pressure to cut funding and let other sports be the winners? This is not about making Dublin into a superpower on the county scene. It's about doing enough to ensure that the GAA maintains its penetration levels in the capital city. Surely that's important, not just for Dublin, but for the GAA as a whole."

He insists Dublin's success is down to a combination of excellent players, a massive effort and top management.

"Look at how some of those players have improved over the years. That's not down to money, it's down to Jim Gavin and his coaching set-up, the players and their willingness to learn," he said.

Lyons is adamant that some counties aren't doing enough to help themselves and are opting instead to criticise others.

“People have to start in their own back yard. There has been a huge population explosion in Kildare and Meath over a number of years – why hasn’t that been exploited? It’s hardly Dublin’s fault that Meath could only kick four points in the Leinster final.

“Kerry went back to basics, put in huge work at underage and schools level and look where it got them. Five minor All-Irelands in a row. This isn’t about money. It’s about hard work and county boards not waiting for others to do the heavy lifting. No amount of cheap shots about money in Dublin will change that,” said Lyons.

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