Club Players' Association hold 'positive' talks with director-general Páraic Duffy
THE Club Players’ Association met with GAA director-general Páraic Duffy on Monday night to outline their objectives for addressing the imbalance between the club and inter-county seasons.
CPA spokesman Declan Brennan said the talks had been harmonious and positive - “we couldn’t have asked for a better meeting” - and confirmed that the CPA will formalise their objectives in a statement on Friday.
Monaghan native Brennan did not confirm reports that the CPA would back Duffy’s proposals on shortening the current inter-county season by two weeks, introducing extra-time or the introduction of a quarter-final round-robin format.
He did repeat that the inter-county season needs to “give ground” if harmony between the county season and the club game was to be found: “There is no question that the inter-county game has to give ground to give club players their place,” he said.
“The county players want that as well - they want their season condensed. It’s too long and it’s not sustainable long-term.”
Reports of club players left kicking their heels without competitive games for long spells before playing three fixtures in a week are widespread throughout the country and the CPA will look to address that first and foremost.
“All we have done so far is met,” said Brennan.
“We haven’t made any views on anything, all we’re doing is putting the structures in place to form the CPA. That takes a lot of work and we have a lot of people doing a lot of work behind the scenes.
“We had a productive meeting as a group on Saturday and we met Páraic Duffy last night - he is very supportive of us moving forward. We went through our objectives and he was very positive and open to moving things forward and we couldn’t have asked for a better meeting. On Friday, we’re going to be making a statement of our objectives and where we’re going and when the launch will possibly be.”
Among the interested parties who met at Croke Park last Saturday to discuss a roadmap for the CPA were former inter-county stars like Derek Kavanagh (Cork), Micheal Quirke (Kerry) and Anthony Moyles (Meath).
Tyrone’s Mattie Donnelly and Dublin’s Jonny Cooper are just two of the current players who have given the fledgling association their backing and the likes of Joe Brolly, Pádraic Joyce and eight-time Kilkenny All-Ireland winner Richie Power have all rowed in behind the CPA.
So too has former Armagh star Aaron Kernan, who said this week: “Nothing will change unless clubs take charge of their own destiny.
“It is time clubs everywhere used their power to make decisions that suit them and their players.”
Former Clontibret player and championship-winning manager Brennan has been encouraged by the enthusiastic support the CPA has received: “The feedback so far has been unbelievable and very much appreciated and a lot of people have made themselves available,” he said.
“We intend to open up our streams to have representatives in each county and to put together a database of everybody who has come on board so we can communicate with them. We are voluntary people and that’s the way we want to stay and that’s the way we want to move forward.
“We want to give the club people a voice - the club people are county people as well.”