Back in the day - High-profile Ulster gaelic footballers join forces in an effort to give players a stronger voice - The Irish News, Aug 21 1999
Players combine in bid to promote change
A NUMBER of high-profile Ulster gaelic footballers are joining forces in an effort to give players a stronger voice in the game’s future.
The players involved want to revamp the Championship format to guarantee more games for every county, and also hope to improve their own general welfare.
One immediate area of concern is players’ insurance, which many consider inadequate, with the proposed players’ body hoping to supplement the existing scheme, providing better payments if injuries cause players to miss work.
Those involved, who have requested anonymity at this stage, have enlisted the help of a highly-experienced sports marketing consultant to advise them and to coordinate and administer their activities.
Donal O’Neill, a nephew of Down legend Sean O’Neill, previously worked with the world-renowned sports management body IMG, largely dealing with major golf and cricket events.
After his return to Ireland he was approached by several GAA stars earlier this year and has been giving them the benefit of his experience, free of charge.
O’Neill explained that the players “wish to put a mechanism in place to facilitate an improvement in the general welfare of gaelic athletes involved at the highest level.
“The players’ objective is to formalise their input in a manner constructive to the development of gaelic games at inter-county level in the best interests of both players and the association in general. They intend to seek the support of, and cooperate fully with, Croke Park to fulfil their objective.”
At this stage the discussions have been restricted to Ulster, though the matter is understood to have been raised informally at Ireland trial sessions for the Compromise Rules series.
Derry SHC semi-finals
Ronan puts off honeymoon for semi clash
KEVIN Lynchs captain and midfielder Ronan McCloskey gets married tomorrow but has postponed the start of his honeymoon until after Sunday’s hurling championship semi-final at Davitt park in Swatragh against Ballinascreen.
With Shane McCartney also delaying the start of his holiday, the Kevin Lynchs players are showing that they are determined to retain the Fr Collins Cup which they won in thrilling style last season against Slaughtneil after a replay.
Kieran McKeever has joined the hurling squad and is likely to start in a defensive role, with his brother Emmett, Barry Kelly, Niall Mullan and Darcy McCloskey.
Most threat will come from Malachy McKenna, Eunan Murray and Paul Kelly. Gregory Brunton and Conor Murray will be at the heart of the Ballinascren defence, their task to negate the influence of Shane McCartney and Geoffrey McGonigle.
If Mullan and McCloskey get control at midfield the Kevin Lynchs attack with Peter McCloskey and Eoin Farren in support, could win the game for the holders.
All-Ireland Junior Camogie semi-final Roscommon v Derry
Derry out to work hardest
DERRY boss Dominic McKinley mindful of the results in last weekend’s All-Ireland Senior semi-finals is keen to impress on his Oak Leaf team that victory only comes to the team which works hardest over the 60 minutes.
“Cork were red-hot favourites for the senior title based on their league run and earlier championship form. We are coming into the Roscommon game from the same background. The girls cannot be complacent or we will end up like Cork.” said McKinley.
It is a useful shot across the bows of a team which has gained in confidence over the past 12 months.
Yes they are favourites to reach the Croke Park Junior final in three weeks’ time and yes they have a fairly settled line-up, but they have not had a close game since Wexford in the league final and know nothing about the Connacht champions.