GAA rule out broken time payments for Friday games
THE GAA have reacted sharply to the suggestion that Friday evening intercounty matches could give rise to player claims for compensation in respect of work missed.
The point was made in recent days by the Gaelic Players Association’s Communications Officer Seán Potts when responding to the prospect of a Leinster championship fixture next year being played on a Friday. Commenting, Feargal McGill, the GAA’s head of games administration and player welfare, said that there was no question of broken time payments in such circumstances.
“Absolutely not,” he said last night. “The GAA would view that as a breach of the rules on amateur status. We understand the difficulties involved in Friday matches and that’s why we have stipulated that they can only realistically be considered in the context of neighbouring counties. That’s why we had problems last year with the proposal that the Dublin-Mayo league fixture be played on a Friday evening.”
Asked if he would accept that concerns, made at the time that professional sports were played in Croke Park between 2007 and 2010, that this would lead to demands for pay-for-play within the GAA proved groundless, McGill said that the restrictive nature of that permission had played a role.
“One of the reasons those concerns never came to pass,” he said, “is that the arrangement was so controlled and temporary. If it had been a week-in, week-out occurrence it might have been different.
“In fairness to the GPA, they accept the rule on amateurism and have made that clear. I think the recession has also drastically reduced the amount of money circulating within the GAA and that too has had an impact on any arguments in favour of professionalism and semi-professionalism.”
Meanwhile, Galway footballer Joe Bergin has announced his retirement from intercounty football. The Mountbellew-Moylough club man had a memorable career, captaining Galway to the All-Ireland under-21 title against Dublin in 2002 and winning the Young Footballer of the Year award in 2000 as well as claiming an All-Ireland senior medal in 2001.
“I have been thinking about it for some time,” he said. “The loss to Antrim [in last July’s qualifiers] was a huge disappointment and I feel now is the time to go. I have been fortunate to have a long inter-county career and while the last few seasons have been disappointing I was lucky enough to win a lot in the early years,” said Bergin, who is a business manager with Ulster Bank.
In Limerick the Dromcollogher-Broadford supporter who allegedly hit Newcastle West’s James Kelly near the end of last weekend’s county football final is facing a two-year suspension. The proposed punishment was decided on by the county’s Competitions Control Committee on Monday night and Martin Stokes, father of Drom centrefielder Jason, has until Friday morning to decide if he wishes to accept the ban or opt for a hearing.
Elsewhere, Kevin Walsh was as expected ratified last night as manager of Sligo footballers by the county board meeting. His selectors will be PJ Langton, Paul Durcan and Tommy Craddock.
Mayo have appointed former Kerry coach Donie Buckley as coach to the county footballers, and Kildare have announced that Niall Carew has stepped down from his role as a selector with the senior and under-21 teams, citing personal reasons.