“We’re not going to run the GAA by Twitter.”
The words were from GAA director general Paraic Duffy. The loud cheers were courtesy of Congress.
The word “disconnect” has been in the GAA ether for the past couple of weeks. The notion became a reality at Congress as the Super 8 motion [for the football championship knock-out stages] was passed with 76% support from county delegates.
It was a motion that 70% of active players across the country were not in favour.
SportsJOE sent chief sportswriter Dion Fanning along to Congress [both days and a bit of mass] this year. He excellently reported on a pervading sense, within the room, that players don’t know what is best for themselves.
A phrase that was frequently repeated on the day was an Oscar Wilde line about people who know ‘the price of everything and the value of nothing’. The Club and Gaelic Players Associations were not far from the thoughts of most at Congress.
— SportsJOE.ie (@SportsJOEdotie) March 1, 2017
One of the major bones of contention appeared to be well known players taking to social media to express their disquiet about the Super 8 votes and the whole process around it.
Anyone who is complaining about this is as out of touch as they come and is proving the point of many players.
Slaughtneil and Derry star Chrissy McKaigue spoke about the Cold War within the GAA and his views would hit home with a host of players. McKaigue told reporters:
“I have never been to Congress and don’t think I ever will but a lot of the men and women that are voting for these things maybe don’t understand the playing perspective as much as they should.
“Players tweeting that they don’t share the same views that their county board delegates are voting in – there is something not right there.”
McKaigue, who will compete in the AIB All-Ireland club SFC final clash with Dr Crokes on St Patrick’s Day, may be disheartened with the current situation but he does not advocate the idea of club players going on strike. He said:
“I certainly wouldn’t agree with that. That is not the answer, that won’t achieve anything. Every action has a reaction and more people than ever have rowed in behind the CPA.
“The CPA doesn’t want to create any hostility or any kind of divide. All it wants to do is give the club players a voice, and one of the big things is condensing the inter-county season. Look at the Ulster Football Championship, how can it take 13 or 14 weeks to run off?
“What common sense is there in that? What player welfare? How is that helping the club? These are questions that haven’t been answered. It is not as if we are trying to promote something that is really controversial, we are just trying to make the game better.”
McKaigue is not the only one with a list of important questions. The answers may be a long time coming and they may still be unpalatable.