GAA Football

Club Players' chief highlights frustration with GAA at Croke Park meeting

Armagh's Oisin O'Neill takes a catch during last year's O'Fiaich Cup. The CPA wants the month of December to be free of all inter-county and club activities
Andy Watters

CLUB Players’ Association chairman Micheal Briody voiced the CPA’s “continued frustration” with the GAA at a recent Croke Park meeting.

The Meath native said the 90-minute sit-down had involved “meaningful engagement and debate from both sides on all issues” but added that the lack of significant progress to complete a master fixture plan for 2018 remained a sticking point.

Briody was accompanied to the meeting by Anthony Moyles (CPA treasurer) and fixture co-ordinators Derek Kavanagh and Liam Griffin and revealed that discussions with the GAA’s 10-man Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) centred on the completion of a fixture blueprint for 2018 which has been the core objective of the CPA since its formation.

“We outlined our continued frustrations at the incremental changes being implemented firstly at Congress in February and subsequently at Special Congress last month without reference first to a master plan,” Briody explained.

“We accept that we are where we are now, despite having highlighted this throughout the year and we asked CCCC that a number of features are incorporated in the master fixture plan.”

The CPA has now called for:

  • Designated periods of club time for all 32 counties at the same time.
  • The month of April to be dedicated as a ‘club month’ to avoid possible 10/11-month gaps from one championship game to the next for club players.
  • An overall central fixtures control system to be established to govern county boards.
  • All national inter-county and club competitions to be completed within the calendar year.
  • The month of December to be free of all inter-county and club activities.
  • Certainty of dates for all club players of when they are playing and when they are not.

Briody added: “The hour and-a-half long meeting involved meaningful engagement and debate from both sides on all issues.

“The CCCC promised to take our pleas into consideration and, although they said it was not possible for us to see a draft of the master fixture plan before it was finalised, we wished them well in getting a satisfactory plan for club and county.”

The CPA chairman added that the players’ body, which has over 30,000 registered members, now intends to draw up a series of motions to bring to Congress in 2018.

“We will be reaching out to our grassroots members to get them voted through clubs at upcoming AGMs and county conventions,” said Briody.

“We believe that players and club officials need to be proactive in influencing their county boards and that county boards need help and direction from the GAA centrally where necessary and that those county boards that conduct their affairs in a positive fashion should be used as a positive example to others.

“We look forward to engagement with the CCCC in the future as necessary, and we believe that open discussion with all groups in the GAA can only improve the association for all its members and we look forward with interest and anticipation to the publication of the master fixture plan for 2018.”

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