GAA keen to employ players


GAELIC GAMES NEWS: IN AN effort to address unemployment and emigration of young GAA members, the director general of the association Páraic Duffy met the Minister for Social Protection Éamon Ó Cuív last Wednesday before endorsing the “Tús” (meaning “Start”) initiative. The FAI and other sporting associations were also present.

As many as 200 GAA members currently unemployed will receive an additional €20 on their weekly social welfare payment of €188 by working as coaches in their local community for 19½ hours a week.

Up to 5,000 people in total are expected to take part in the scheme. As a result, they will be taken off the live register.

“Minister Éamon Ó Cuív is introducing the Tús initiative where he is encouraging the GAA and other sporting bodies as well to take on, in our case, unemployed players as coaches,” Duffy explained. “It is a proposal worth looking at and we would see serious opportunities in that for players that are unemployed. It will be on the agenda for the next Coiste Banáiste (GAA management) meeting.

“We would be anxious to play our part in that,” Duffy continued. “The Minister would like us, because we are the biggest sporting organisation, to take on maybe 100 or 200 people, probably unemployed players that can be quickly up-skilled in coaching. The Department would provide the funding, we will provide the training and facilities.

“We do have a responsibility to do what we can. I know people say the GAA should do something but it is not easy but this is a scheme with potential that we will be looking to get off the ground as quickly as possible in the new year.”

Duffy identified urban areas for particular attention should the scheme become a reality.

Elsewhere, recently-retired Galway hurler Ollie Canning has welcomed the Tribesmen’s inclusion in the Leinster hurling championship until 2013. “I think it is a good thing. I know at the start that when it went through first it was only until 2011. I don’t see a major problem with it now and I would say 99 per cent if not 100 per cent of the players would not have a problem with it.

“There was some opposition to the idea at the start when it was passed. But I think it is a good thing for Galway and a good thing for Leinster. Even the last couple of seasons some of the best games in the championship have come from Leinster. Obviously the Munster championship is very, very important and competitive as well but I think Leinster and Galway have benefited from it.”

Canning was not so sure about the proposal to include underage Galway teams in the Leinster championships. “I think it would be more difficult at minor level. You have the whole thing about guys doing the Leaving Cert and playing colleges’ hurling. I would imagine there would be more complications at that level . . . Maybe the under-21 could be looked at.

“Galway looked very, very raw in the All-Ireland final this year against a Tipperary team that had come through Munster. They left the Galway lads standing but really they had some good quality matches under their belt whereas Galway came in not knowing their best team and paid for it on the day.”

Despite meeting Galway hurling manager John McIntyre earlier this month, Canning confirmed he would not be returning to the inter-county panel next year.