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'It is hypocrisy' - Michael Duignan blasts the GAA and inter-county managers over training row

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Offaly GAA Chairman Michael Duignan has hit out at inter-county teams who have started back training during the club period. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Offaly GAA Chairman Michael Duignan has hit out at inter-county teams who have started back training during the club period. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Offaly GAA Chairman Michael Duignan has hit out at inter-county teams who have started back training during the club period. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Current Offaly GAA chairman Michael Duignan has hit out at the "hypocrisy" and "dishonest" message being sent out by the continuation of inter-county training through what has been designated as a club window.

The former dual player, who took over the Offaly chair late last year, expressed his disillusionment with the direction of inter-county managers and the pressure they have been putting on players to return to training, suggesting a sanction should have been imposed whereby any county team found to be training should be put out of the championship.

Last week the Club Players Association also revealed in a note to its membership that it had suggested suspending an inter-county manager and putting a team out of the championship if they had broken training guidelines.

But with no penalty in place and no apparent desire from GAA authorities to take a hardline approach to it, the prohibition remains lightweight.

Speaking on Newstalk's 'Off The Ball', Duignan said he was detecting a deep chasm between club and county over the ongoing issue which shouldn't be.

"We are just coming out of an unprecedented time of our lives, and we can't talk out of both sides of our mouth here," he said.

"If community is going to be first and club is going to be first, it would have been easier to bring back county first, from a logistical point of view. The decision was made to go back with their clubs because every player is a club player.

"I'm disillusioned with the direction from inter-county managers, first of all for putting pressure on their players to getting back training because players will do whatever they are asked to do.

"I am starting with inter-county managers, then county boards for allowing it to happen. I'm also disillusioned with Croke Park for not coming up with stricter sanctions and the players themselves and the GPA in particular for not standing up and saying 'we're not accepting this'.

"It is hypocrisy, it is dishonest. What sort of message are we sending to young men, who are supposed to be leaders of their community, between 22 and 25 years of age?"

"It is not anti games but there has to be a balance, better than what it is. We had a chance to say community and family comes first, and being with your own people comes first and what we have done is we've jumped straight back into the inter-county rat race."

"People have been sick and dying in our communities. We have all been locked up at home and our communities really should be first, our clubs, let them have their players without them looking over their shoulders first," he added.

"A lot of people need to look in the mirror from top to bottom."

Duignan said the players involved had to take some responsibility too.

"A lot of players could have stood up and said, instead of just being ruled by their inter-county manager say, 'no, by the way, I'm going to play with my club' and maybe the ultimate answer was to have no inter-county this year."

Online Editors