Mullane urges GAA to support counties


Retiring Waterford senior hurler John Mullane has called on the GAA to loosen the purse strings and donate €3.2 million to intercounty teams. Mullane (31) called a press conference at the Granville Hotel in Waterford city yesterday to explain the reasons behind his decision to retire from intercounty hurling.

And the De La Salle clubman, a five-time All-star recipient, believes that Croke Park is not doing enough to look after top players.

“There has to be more rewards for players. They’re not getting enough out of it,” he said. “I’m not saying there should be pay for play but the GAA can look at other aspects. I would be looking at setting aside €3.2 million. It sounds a lot but it’s one big gate in Croke Park – €100,000 to each county, €50,000 for football and €50,000 for hurling.

Training camps

“Then the county board come in and look after the expenses side of it, the gear and the meals. That €50,000 would be there then if teams wanted to go down the road of training camps or be rewarded at the end of the year with a team holiday.

“What you’re seeing more often now is that players are being asked to go out and do fundraising, boxing nights and Strictly Come Dancing.

“I don’t think players should be put in that type of position. Everything should be put in place for players, given the best chance to perform. It comes at a cost but Croke Park must start helping counties, particularly the likes of Waterford. Otherwise we’ll continue to lose players.”

Mullane also admitted that 12 seasons of hurling at the top level for Waterford had left him “mentally broken”. Mullane was part of a team renowned as one of the greatest never to win an All-Ireland.

Highs and lows

He pinpointed the 2002 Munster final victory over Tipperary as the greatest moment of his career. And the low point for one of the greatest forwards of the modern era came in 2004, when Mullane was red carded in the Munster senior hurling final.

And Mullane also revealed that not even the offer of captaining the Waterford team in 2013 could persuade him to give it another year.

Kevin Moran will be captain for the season, taking over from Michael “Brick” Walsh, 29, who enjoyed a second spell as captain in 2012.

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