Tuesday 15 October 2019

Have your say: Rebel club players getting a raw deal

I am now the wrong side of 50 and still have a big involvement in my club. Gaelic games have been a big part of my life but alas I was never good enough to represent my county.

The hierarchy in the GAA is always promoting the idea that the club is the heartbeat and soul of the organisation. Perhaps the club does have a role to play in some counties but in Cork the inter-county managers call the shots and dictate when inter-county players are released to their clubs. In the past, players would be released during the league – this is now an issue.

Prior to Cork playing Mayo (six days in fact) club players were not released by Conor Counihan. Eight days prior to the relegation league play-off with Clare, Jimmy Barry-Murphy would not release players for club games. During the championship (Munster/back door games) it is next to impossible to have players released.

The clubs need to prepare for their championship also. Some clubs would have players representing their county at a number of levels. With the exclusion of such players, it is difficult to prepare club teams. The county board will tell you the players can be released but managers will put pressure on players to toe the line.

In Cork, an inter-county player is part of an elitist group similar to club Munster rugby. No doubt the inter-county player is better than the club player. The game needs its county players to showcase the organisation. The GAA needs a vibrant club scene equally. Perhaps the managers have forgotten their roots – where it all began.

The clubs for their part need to have their voices heard. Perhaps the club players representing the county need to remember where they came from. This is a most unsatisfactory situation which for the good of all could be addressed in a more satisfactory way. Is the club player a forgotten species? Will the club player in Gaelic games end up like the club player in rugby – a second-class citizen?

Name and address with editor

Kilkenny hurt by foul stroke

I am writing to you in relation to the recent article 'Fair is fair and foul is foul' [May 12] as I think Eamonn Sweeney could do with reflecting on the whole "fair is fair" side of things. I do not condone what happened in the league final and, as a Kilkenny supporter, I was disappointed to see one of our finest hurlers involved. My gripe however is in relation to the one-sided article that attacks two good and honest Kilkenny hurlers. He asks for additional punishment to be handed out to JJ Delaney but fails to acknowledge that another player was also sent off in the incident and given the same ban as per the GAA rule book.

It appears he is suggesting that the GAA be selective in how they use the rules, ie if you are a Kilkenny hurler then you should receive a harsher punishment.

As clearly stated, it was not like JJ to resort to this sort of stuff so maybe you should have asked why such an honest hurler did get involved. It definitely was not down to the fact that Lar was getting the better of JJ on the pitch. I certainly don't want to take from Lar Corbett, rather I would like you to reflect on your own selective journalism bearing in mind the following incidents in last year's championship.

1) All-Ireland semi-final – Michael Rice's injury in this game

2) All-Ireland final replay – TJ Reid's broken kneecap.

These are just two examples I can think of where no player was held to account. Michael Rice spent a whole winter wondering if his hand would ever be right again after seven fractures, while TJ Reid is only recently back hurling.

I, like you and everyone who loves the game of hurling, do wish to keep all the good aspects of hurling and agree the game has to be monitored to allow it to remain the fantastic spectacle it is.

However, success does breed contempt and Eamonn has been a victim of this in his article, maybe not intentionally. I hope he will be a bit more open-minded in future and practise what he preaches, "fair is fair and foul is foul".

Philly Butler

Bias against Reds misses key points

Once again, Tommy Conlon's hatred of all things Manchester United shines through in his article about Alex Ferguson [May 12], and gets in the way of the facts.

1 Tommy needs to check the net spend of the top football clubs in England during the Premier League era.

2 He makes no mention of Ferguson's youth policy.

3 He should do some research on the number of English-born players who have graced Ferguson's teams over the years.

4 The number of Manchester-born local lads who have played in Ferguson's first team.

5 Manchester United's wealth was created by attractive football, and success, not by some billionaire parachuting in.

6 United have faults, as supporters we are not blind to that, but it is all about what happens when those 11 lads take to the pitch to play football. A pleasure I have enjoyed all my life.

Anthony Conboy

Irish Independent

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