Wednesday 21 March 2018

Meath great Colm O'Rourke wants Dublin split into 'two, three or four different teams'

Colm O'Rourke wants to see Dublin split up
Colm O'Rourke wants to see Dublin split up

Meath legend Colm O'Rourke caused a stir in 2013 when he suggested that Dublin should be divided for the sake of the game in the capital.

His Sunday Independent column from February 24, 2013, suggested that there were hundred of young Dublin players good enough to play underage inter-county football or hurling but they will never get the chance.

The 2013 column in the Sunday Independent

He believed that it was inevitable that two Dublin teams would meet in the Leinster final in the future and argued that the level of resources at Dublin's disposal shouldn't be confined to one entity.

Since the column was published, Dublin have plundered four out of five national league titles and four out of five All-Ireland titles.

He reiterated his point on last night's Sunday Game and claimed that the biggest motivation for the proposal was participation levels in our national games in Dublin.

"The long-term solution has to be to look at a different model for Dublin. Two or three or four different teams. Because my idea of the GAA is based on participation, involvement and opportunity.

"And there's thousands of young Dublin footballers, on the Hill today and watching on television, who would love the chance of playing Dublin.

"And the response to population surges in the city - and I gave the example of Castleknock - has been to create new clubs and Castleknock have been very, very successful.

"We can't have the population of Dublin being 1.5 or 2 million going forward and just one team. It just does not make sense."

His fellow Sunday Game columnist Joe Brolly agreed with him.

"We need a drastic re-organisation. In 2000, the Strategic Review Committee, with some of the great visionaries of the GAA, and they came to exactly this conclusion.

"Dublin's the biggest population centre. Participation's our thing. We need to split it into three. They recommended three at that stage.

"The GAA needs a massive strategic review. We're already 20 years late in having it. We're being left behind. It's the haves and the have-nots. And we needed to regularise this because it's a massive problem.

"So come the All-Ireland final night, we say things are great in Dublin, things are great in Kerry, things are great in Mayo and Tyrone. They're not great everywhere else."

Former Dublin midfielder Ciarán Whelan was less impressed with the idea.

"Let's go back 40 years when Dublin hammered Armagh in the '77 All-Ireland final. The talk at that stage was about an open draw and how Dublin were professional and way ahead of everybody.

"Kerry bounced back and done four in a row. Cork and Meath dominated the 80s. Tyrone and Kerry dominated the noughties.   

"Dublin have invested a lot. We've always had the population advantage. We've always had that advantage. We didn't have the success.

"Now, if you want to get to the point where Meath win Leinster finals beating a Dublin North in Leinster Final. I don't think that would be the same in my opinion. I think that takes away from the game.

"It's about parochialism. It's about where you're from - Dublin. I don't think we're at that stage."


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