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14th Mar 2022

“It’s disrespectful” – Eamon McGee blasts Colm O’Rourke’s “blasé” comments about player expenses

Lee Costello

“It’s just not going to happen, they have to make peace with that.”

The GAA Hour is back, and it didn’t take long for the new boys to get stuck straight into it, as Darran O’Sullivan is joined by Donegal legend Eamon McGee and Galway hero Finian Hanley.

The League on Sunday show last night had a very fiery debate about player expenses, as the Gaelic Players’ Association (GPA) have called on all players to boycott post-match interviews until these funds are paid.

GPA chief Tom Parsons was on the show to share the reasoning behind the protest, but Colm O’Rourke was quick to give his opinion on it.

“I think that’s a move towards semi-professionalism. When I look at the GAA, I think the offer is generous. Tom is saying these inter-county players don’t get anything out of it, and none of us want to see players out of pocket – they get the enjoyment, the health benefits, the privilege of playing in Croke Park.

“97% of GAA players are club players, who get no expenses at all so in many ways, the county players are a privileged group. And it does appear that, because they’re not getting their own way, the GPA are throwing their toys out of the pram.”

Kerry legend, and now presenter-extraordinaire O’Sullivan, put the question to his guest Eamon McGee on the first show of the new GAA Hour, and the 2012 All-Ireland winner didn’t hold back in his response.

“For me it’s fairly black and white because and you’re probably in the same boat Darran. We know what it’s like, we have been there, so for someone like Colm O’Rourke to come out and be so blasé about it, is disrespectful for the players.

“It’s disrespectful to what they’re putting in, and we talked about this off air, it is black and white, the agreement was there, it was in place, so just go back to what was agreed.

“It’s never going to go back, like people talk about amateurs but the genie is out of the bottle, the expense system is here, players are getting a few pounds.

“Maybe they can put a few of that into the pocket, but the majority of that is going towards travel expenses, and the talk also of limiting the sessions – we couldn’t.

“It’s going to be an honour system, so we’re relying on people to be honest about this, we couldn’t maintain that during a pandemic so what hope do we have now?

“‘Keep it to three sessions lads,’ and they will all say ‘yeah, yeah, yeah,’ but it’s just not going to happen, they have to make peace with that,” said McGee in regards to capping the amount of sessions a team can have.

“Coaches are going to maximise what they have, and players shouldn’t be out of pocket for that.”

O’Sullivan also weighed in, making the point that a lot of the younger players are out money due to their county commitments.

“It’s very hard for all of these students, who are a big portion of the inter-county scene, to get part-time jobs, they don’t have time for it.

“So their only source… and it’s not an income, it’s an expense… their only source to get a few bob is the expense for the travel, and the cost of playing inter-county football.

“This argument of ‘it’s about the love of the game’ – of course it is, we all love playing, but you shouldn’t be out of pocket, and then comparing club and county, people are forgetting that these county players are club players as well.”

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