GAA Football

GAA needs to take common sense approach to training ban sanctions says Armagh's Jim McCorry

Armagh assistant manager Jim McCorry doesn't believe the punishment fits the crime when it comes to sanctions handed out for flaunting the pre-Championship training ban. Picture by Philip Walsh
Neil Loughran

ARMAGH assistant manager Jim McCorry has called on the GAA to take a common sense approach to sanctions imposed on counties found to have broken training regulations, as the Orchardmen face losing home advantage for a game at the start of the 2019 National League.

While 17 counties were investigated for a potential breach of the rule – which banned counties from going on 'away' training breaks in the period after the League, except in the 10-day period before their first Championship game – only four, including Armagh, have been sanctioned.

Among those to escape punishment are the Dublin footballers after Croke Park accepted the explanation that their group trip to France and Belgium was solely to visit the site of World War I battles.

Armagh footballers and Wexford hurlers both travelled to Portugal, while Waterford hurlers and Laois footballers went to venues in Ireland for weekend sessions.

As a result, the Orchard could have one home League game moved to a neutral venue, most likely the scheduled February 3 Division Two meeting with Clare – although all four counties are expected to appeal to the Central Hearings Committee.

And McCorry feels that, in this case, the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

“If the authorities are deciding to penalise teams for that, it’s very disappointing,” said the Lurgan man.

“We co-operated fully with the April rule, released our players for all the club games – we’re not a county that would fly in the face of procedure and policy within the GAA.

“It would be disappointing if they were to go down that particular road, especially when you look at Division Two - it’s a very, very competitive league

“If you have a home game, you don’t want to be losing it for something as minor as that. You’d be scratching your head a wee bit wondering are they really going to put sanctions in for something as minor as that, when you consider some of the things that are let go at the minute.

“I don’t think anybody needs to make a big statement or flex muscle to say we’re taking home advantage away. The best thing to do would be to draw a line under it this time, issue everybody with a warning, let’s move on and in future make sure that you comply with the timescales that are there.”

Meanwhile, McCorry believes former county captain Ciaran McKeever could be a future Armagh manager after being handed the reins of the Orchard minors.

The Cullyhanna man, who is still playing with his club, only stepped away from the inter-county scene last year but has launched himself straight into coaching, taking over from another former Armagh stalwart in Paul McGrane.

And McCorry believes McKeever has the potential to be a huge success.

“He’s a fantastic coach,” said the former Down boss.

“Ciaran has got everything in his toolbox to be a future Armagh manager. He’s a great motivator, a very genuine fella in everything he does, he’s steeped in orange and white the whole way through.

“He’s been coaching for a number of years while still playing and was involved with Mayobridge this year in Down, helping out as a defensive coach, and I think it’s only a matter of time before he moves on through the ranks.

“People talk about all the different things you need as a coach and probably one of the biggest things you need is to be a player person, somebody who is able to get on with people and listen to them.

“Ciaran’s a very personable guy, he’s very much player-oriented but he’ll not take any rubbish from anybody. He’ll do the thing right, and that’s a big, big plus for our county to have Ciaran in that position.

“It’s a tremendous appointment.”

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