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Monday 14 October 2019

'There's GAA players who can't go to work because of the abuse they got on a Sunday' - Paul Flynn on online abuse

Paul Flynn, GPA CEO. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Paul Flynn, GPA CEO. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Paul Flynn has offered an insight into the devastating impact of online abuse by revealing how some GAA players have not gone to work on the day after a game because of the abuse they were subjected to.

The Gaelic Players Association chief was responding to a question about the 'rookie camp' that the association now runs for players new to inter-county squads.

Last year there were 73 'rookies' at a one-day camp at the National Sports Campus in Blanchardstown, where "minding themselves on social media" was discussed, according to Flynn.

"One of the journalists commented last year that we were educating players on how to sell themselves on social media and build their brand. It was very much about minding themselves on social media," he said.

"We've got players who couldn't go to work the next day because of the abuse they got on a Sunday. They were teachers or professionals facing kids.

"It's very difficult at the moment. Online abuse is epidemic across society. We're just a microcosm of society. We're in the public eye so we get more of it than others.

"But it is also about them managing their own accounts, so for job opportunities they are in the public eye and it's very important that what they are putting out there is managed quite carefully."

The GPA held their AGM in Dunboyne Castle over the weekend, where Donegal captain Michael Murphy, Longford's Mickey Quinn and Clare hurler Podge Collins were elected on to its national executive.

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Among the discussions were motions to support the introduction of a 10-minute concussion substitution and a central payment system for expenses.

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