Monday 18 December 2017

Have your say

Loyalty and pride can't be coerced

While I agree it is vital that the GAA maintains its amateur ethos, the Parish Rule is not the way to achieve this [Aug 28]. In the case of the parish, it is parents who decide where their children should go to school, play sport, what friends they should have etc.

Article 42.1 and 42.2 of Bunreacht na hÉireann gives the parent the absolute right to decide for themselves how their children should be educated. This education includes physical, academic, social etc. If they want their children to play Gaelic games, then the parish rule may conflict with the parents' rights as defined in the constitution.

John Greene misunderstands 'the parish rule' anyway. A player is 'bound' to a club when he first plays with that club in under 12 competition (not under 11, under 8 or the location of their home, school etc). The native parish rule is secondary to this requirement. See 6.3(a) of the official guide.

The parish is an administrative area of the Catholic church. It is not the responsibility of the GAA to preserve a religious relic. It may be that the parish community no longer has an identity with the church and the GAA club is all that is left, but many clubs are forming amalgamations because of a lack of numbers, so what does it mean to represent the parish?

Clubs like all other entities in society will suffer from conflict and players, members and parents may find that they can no longer tolerate individuals in their local club. Why should they be forced to endure humiliation if they want to play the sport? A proper native parish rule may cause unnecessary conflict by preventing people from voting with their feet.

The parish rule supports poorly-run clubs. If one club caters for children and players better than another, the poorly-run club can continue because players and parents are forced to join the bad club. Clubs should be forced to compete with each other for members. Higher standards will be achieved and greater pride and identity with the club will result. There is often competition with other sports, but in many small parishes an alternative GAA club is not present. Towns, which are in constant competition with other sports, will tend to have a better juvenile system, because players who do not enjoy their games will play something else. This is the great advantage that towns have over rural clubs. It is not numbers that give them advantage, it is competition. In fact, it can be argued that players who play for a town club suffer, because play is more important than skill development. Rural clubs will tend to beat towns at adult level because of this. The analysis also presents the notion that players can only play for their club. They often play for their school, college, development squad, junior county squad, senior squad etc. The desire to satisfy personal glory can be achieved in other environments other than with the club. These options for players practically deny the current 'home club' rule.

Finally, it is his contention that depriving parents of the right to choose for their children supports the association that we all are members of, love and wish to preserve. What is required is that players have pride in their community and a desire to represent that community. This will not be achieved by coercion and the ethos of the association will not be preserved by coercion. We must always place the needs of the child above all other needs.

A blunt instrument such as the parish rule will not work. Loyalty and pride cannot be coerced. The amateur ethos can be preserved by the home club rule, provided parents are allowed some scope to change their minds.

Geoff Wales

Dubs also suffered at hands of referee

Dermot Crowe's critical analysis [Oct 2] of referee Joe McQuillan's performance in the recent All-Ireland football final was understandably sympathetic to his decision-making in the heat of a high-tempo football final. However, the article focused mainly on some soft frees awarded to Dublin in a very entertaining game.

One Kerry player was awarded a free after an elbow to the face, causing injury to a Dublin defender. Kieran Donaghy spent a lot of the second half throwing shapes and he should have been yellow-carded after an incident with Dublin back Rory O'Carroll. Instead, Donaghy was awarded a scoreable free kick at a critical stage.

Pat Gilroy sprung the brilliant young Kevin McManamon from the bench and it took four superb scores to beat this great Kerry team. It equated to Darren Clarke or Pádraig Harrington making four late birdies in a Ryder Cup.

Perhaps Pat Gilroy would be the man to sort out that prima ballerina Carlos Tevez who refused to to perform as a substitute for Manchester City in a recent Champions League game and is on 200 grand a week, unlike the brilliant young McManamon.

Raphael Kavanagh

Sunday Indo Sport

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