"You're representing your county all year and your family have to pay to go in and watch games"
Lee Chin gives his life to Wexford GAA.
He lives as professional a lifestyle as any inter-county GAA player. But, while even the Wexford hurler is opposed to professionalism in GAA, he did outline the under-appreciation of inter-county players.
Chin admitted his disappointment in some of the treatment of players who commit so much time and effort to their county. During a debate on whether the GAA should go professional and pay its players, the Faythe Harriers club man said the association can improve on a lot of smaller aspects first.
Speaking on the latest GAA Hour, Chin pointed out something as simple as he and his family walking into a club game in Wexford Park and being charged admission after all the volunteering he's done for the county.
“I’ve had experiences at times, particularly when I was younger and I mightn’t have been our there as much and I might not have been as recognisable,” he said.
“You’d walk into your home ground, Wexford Park, and you’re being charged to watch a club game. You were only there the week before representing your county with a couple of hundred or thousands watching you play.
“I just think things like that could definitely be facilitated that every inter-county player is given a recognition for themselves or their family."
Gate admissions are a big part of the GAA's yearly income and a fiver to see a club game isn't going to break the bank for a lot of people but the Wexford man said that an exception could be made for the families of the players who already give so much.
Chin recognises the support of his family and it's clear they are a big part of his life. It’s no wonder, then, that he finds it upsetting seeing his family having to fork out to see him play.
“I do get a little down at times when I’m going off to play for my club,” he said
“You’ve been representing your county all year and your family members, your mother, your father, your grandparents have to pay to go in and watch games. It puts a sour taste in my mouth at times.
“They’re the kind of things that I look at that the GAA could be better, facilitating things like that.”
The three-time All-Star nominee dedicates his life to hurling living, as much as possible, a professional lifestyle but even he was against the idea of hurling going professional.
A report from GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail said that, by 2034, the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the GAA, players will be compensated for their inter-county time commitments.
“By 2034, the GAA will have developed a model to recognise the time and effort contributed by senior inter-county players and their respective managers,” it read.
Chin accepted the proposal too with open arms and stressed the importance of the games remaining amateur while helping players out financially.
“The big one is that the amateur status will still remain,” he said.
“We all know that’s so important to the GAA. That’s why we all love playing the game I suppose.
“You have the odd player that have problems financially and problems with work in terms of the commitment that they give their inter-county setups.
“It is tough in regards to the commitment level that is needed nowadays. You do sometimes feel that you should be compensated more for it. In a few years’ time though, I can see it being a case where players are paid and compensated for their efforts.”
Listen to the full interview and much more from The GAA Hour Hurling Show right here.