Little light at end of Limerick tunnel - Farrell
GPA CEO Dessie Farrell says his organisation are ready to help mediate the ongoing hurling row in Limerick -- but admits he "can't see any light at the end of the tunnel".
After Tuesday's Limerick County Board meeting opened the door for Croke Park to become involved in the row, Farrell suggested that move should have happened earlier.
"Obviously if it can be sorted out down there it's in everyone's interest," he said. "I'm just slightly concerned about the practicalities of a mediation process now. I've had contact with players and county board officials, and an individual involved with the management team, and it just seems to be a very, very difficult situation and I'm not sure how mediation is going to help it.
"By all means, if it is to help, it should be explored -- but I can't see any light at the end of the tunnel through the mediation channel. I think it probably should have happened earlier. The players seem to be very set in their opinion that they don't want to play.
"We would have no issue with getting involved. It's just I don't know what we could do. The problem occurred before official recognition and before we had a chance to establish various protocols. That makes it very difficult."
The majority of last year's squad have refused to line out for embattled manager Justin McCarthy this season and, despite selector John Tuohy's recent assertion that a resolution could be found, there has been little shift in attitude from either side.
As expected, Limerick's results have taken a nosedive in recent weeks, with a demoralising defeat to Carlow squeezed in between wins over Kerry and Tralee IT.
And with the Shannonsiders' National League opener with Galway on Sunday week looming large on the horizon, a new sense of urgency surrounds the impasse.
"(Management either) step down or they continue on and build for the future. There's two options. I know previously the county board demonstrated their support of the management team -- there may have been rumblings to the contrary (on Tuesday) night, but the management team is still in place. If mediation can help, great. If we can play a role in that, great -- we've already made contact with the various stakeholders."
The GPA unveiled the Irish Kidney Association, who are preparing to host the sixth European Transplant and Dialysis Games in Dublin in August, as one of their three charities for 2010. The announcement comes just a day after it was confirmed that the players' body will lose one of its major sponsors, Halifax, this year.
"I had a conversation with an official in there and we're due to meet them next week but, at this stage, it wouldn't be looking good, which is disappointing because we had another year of the contract to run.
"But we had been planning for this eventuality given the recession over the last 18 months or two years, so there are contingency plans in place. At this stage the concern is more for players (Dublin's Paul Casey and Louth's Darren Clarke) that were employed by Halifax, and obviously the rest of the staff there."
Farrell went on to say that the officially recognised GPA may be in a better position than ever to attract big-name sponsors.
"If anything, it could be easier," he said. "It depends on who's looking to do what. Some companies and organisations out there were happy to see us as sort of outside the tent, if you like, but others wouldn't be prepared to engage until we became official. It just depends on the situation."
Meanwhile, it may be almost St Valentine's Day but Galway footballers could be forgiven for thinking it is Hallowe'en after being made watch a horror DVD.
Boss Joe Kernan made them watch the video of their league drubbing by arch rivals Mayo -- they trailed by 2-13 to 0-6 at one point before losing by seven points -- at training on Tuesday.
"The video did not make for nice viewing," said Kernan who hopes that they will bounce back when they take on Monaghan at Pearse Stadium on Sunday.