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05th Dec 2017

Aaron Kernan’s depressing WhatsApp story should make club players everywhere wise up

"Everybody says they want change but they won't even hit follow on Twitter..."

Conan Doherty

What are we doing here?

It seems that everyone is just shouting aloud but not trying to do anything.

We’re all crying about fixtures, we all agree that club players are getting a raw deal and we all see the urgency that the GAA should have to look after a group that makes up over 230,000 of its members – the senior club player.

But all we hear is ‘somebody has to do something’ and ‘this needs to change’. Very few are actually offering solutions and what’s sadder again is that even less are offering palpable support to those who are trying to find a way.

“We’re just sitting waiting for someone else to do it.”

That’s Aaron Kernan’s damning assessment of the situation.

The Armagh legend has experienced the apathy first hand. He’s a committee member in Crossmaglen, he’s been a GPA representative and, now, it sounds like he’s going to be busting his balls to help out the newly-formed Club Players Association.

But it’s a lot harder trying to rally the support despite everyone saying they want change and they want to help.

On The GAA Hour, Kernan told SportsJOE the extent to which club players are dragging their heels.

“I sat at our club AGM last year and there wasn’t a mention of a club calendar, it wasn’t brought up once. That’s probably my own fault because I was sitting there but the fact that I was the only senior footballer at our AGM is part of the problem,” he said.

“I didn’t bring it up to put it forward and everybody else in the committee that’s 50 years plus isn’t going to bring it up. Therefore, we didn’t send forward a club delegate with a mandate or proposal to our county board so I don’t know if anyone else in Armagh actually bothered to do it.

“Maybe this is where the problem is. We’re all saying there’s a problem but is anybody actually sending their club delegate to the county convention asking for change? I don’t know. I know within my own club we definitely didn’t.”

Okay. That’s one very valid point. If we’re really getting that pissed off and threatening to quit, why aren’t we trying to motion for change?

But Kernan has tried to make it so simplistic for his team mates that it would only require the push of a thumb. He can’t even get that out of the players.

“On our club WhatsApp group, I put up two messages directly to the players within my panel and said, ‘boys, will you just follow this, give them your support online’. I’d say 95 per cent, at least, of our squad are on Facebook and Twitter and that there. To date, two players have followed it.

“The second thing is: whenever I was the GPA rep within Armagh and you got your government grants at the end of the year, I would’ve had 10 boys turning around and saying to me, ‘here, would you fill that out for me, will ya?’ They were getting money for that and they wouldn’t even bother filling it out,” Kernan said.

“Now I’m asking them to follow something on Facebook or Twitter – and they’re all on it – but they’re not doing it.

“That’s the reality. Everybody says they want change here but they won’t even hit follow on Twitter to support a campaign where we’ve a crowd of people trying to go and work for the players.

“I can only speak from my own experience but I’m sure if you went into any club across the country, it would be the same.”

Listen to the full interview below. It is brilliant.

Aaron Kernan joins Colm Parkinson on The GAA Hour to explain the work he’s doing for the Club Players Association. Derry captain Chrissy McKaigue talks Slaughtneil and a Dublin club advertising for hurlers gets a sore touch. Subscribe here on iTunes.