Dodgy Tackle: Pay-for-play a Messi old business

 Henry Shefflin, one of the most talented GAA players of his era, works in a bank
Kevin Farrell

IF the Gaelic Players’ Association ever needs someone to rattle out a new draft document down the track on why inter-county footballers and hurlers deserve a few quid for their efforts, 11-year-old Éanna Sheridan’s well-researched homework would suggest he could well be the perfect crust-grabber for the job.

Either that or the cub, whose father Micheal hails from Cavan, should just skip that timeconsuming part of growing up called education altogether and fire his CV in for the next available number-crunching job on either Wall Street or Countdown. Take it away, Éanna...

“Chairperson, adjudicators, members of the opposition, fellow students, my name in Éanna Sheridan and I am 100% for the motion that GAA players should be classed as professionals,” he wrote very neatly with a blue biro on lined paper.

“To kick things off, let’s start by comparing GAA players who are put under the same physical and mental strain as soccer’s finest athletes.

“Take Henry Shefflin (inset) as an example. He was one of the most talented GAA players of his era. His amazing talent inspired many, and now he’s retired, one of the GAA’s most respected players works in a BANK sorting papers until he’s 65.

“While in the sunny city of Barcelona, Lionel Messi was signing off a contract that would see him earn 85p a SECOND, around €70 a minute, €42,000 a day, €300,000 a week, €1.2m a month and €14.4m a year.

“Get the point? Don’t mention that includes advertising shoes that cost €300 for anybody who wants a pair. Meanwhile, the legend of Irish hurling doesn’t even earn 3.5% of that which is just unfair. Disagree if you want, but I think that GAA is as physically demanding as soccer and I think that the players should earn at least 70% of soccer players’ wages.”

Wow. It’s a gold star, smiley face and a new sharpener plus expenses from Dodgy.

When Dodgy was Éanna’s age, he’d weep like a banshee slicing onions at Roy Orbison’s wake when faced with a couple of long divisions for homework never mind writing word for word everything a GAA-mad oul’ boy was dictat... er, being able to deliver an argument with supporting mathematical evidence on one of meatiest topics in Gaelic Games.

All said, it’s definitely hard to imagine the ‘Henry Shefflin of world soccer’ ending up sorting papers in a bank until he’s 65 like the ‘Leo Messi of world hurling’ will apparently end up doing with himself.

Unless, for argument sake, the bank happens to be in a cell in a jail in the sunny city of Barcelona and the papers happen to be a thick backlog of income tax returns or similar.

DODGY remembers with fondness the time he peeked into/ gatecrashed a wedding in a swish hotel to catch a glimpse of a band he was considering for his own nuptials a decade later and ended up starting a queue for the chicken wings and vol-au-vents. It happens.

The fall-out from Wayne Rooney’s bout of wedding crashing midweek, albeit while full as an envelope in Big Sam’s kecks, was rightly dismissed by Jurgen Klopp who was once scooped out on the lash disguised as Santa while manager of German side Mainz when they were bottom of the Bundesliga.

“All the guys, all the legends we love and admire drank like devils and smoked like crazy but they were still good players,” the Liverpool boss roared louder than three lions.

“No-one does it any more. I don’t know anyone now. We had a Christmas party [after losing against Watford in December last year] and I had to fill people’s glasses.”

What a festive frolicker. You wouldn’t have seen Fergie or Big Sam filling other boys’ glasses back in the day.


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