Back in the Day - Strong initial support for new players body - The Irish News, 1999

Donegal’s Jim McGuinness (left), Donal O’Neill and Derry’s Fergal McCusker pictured at the launch of the Gaelic Players Association in the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast
Donegal’s Jim McGuinness (left), Donal O’Neill and Derry’s Fergal McCusker pictured at the launch of the Gaelic Players Association in the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast

THE Gaelic Players Association was launched in emphatic fashion in Belfast last night boasting an initial membership of 130 inter-county players, though not all were in attendance.

As promised Peter Canavan put in an appearance, with James McCartan and Fergal McCusker clearly leading lights, but the organisation was also obviously supported by younger players, such as Paul McFlynn and Shane Mulholland.

Former Tyrone representative Fergal Logan was also there having offered legal advice to the new body. Joining many of the top players from Ulster football whose names were already in the public domain were two southern stars, Ja Fallon of Galway and Dublin captain Dessie Farrell. T

he only province not represented at this early stage was Munster, though messages of support were apparently sent from Kerry for starters.

The objective of the GPA was declared to be “to provide a forum through which inter-county players in 32-county Ireland might communicate on, and pursue constructively within the constitution of the Gaelic Athletic Association, those issues specific to their participation in gaelic games at the highest level.”

Spokesman Donal O’Neill, a nephew of Down legend Sean, was confident that membership would grow quickly: “Emphatic support for the GPA has already been filtering back from within the ranks of the international Combined Rules squad in particular, and it is anticipated that numbers will increase dramatically as county squads regroup for the National League campaign.”

The GPA’s strategy document includes objectives for the 2001 season and a longer term two-to-five year plan. For one of the 2001 aims, it is stated that “through a professionally administered marketing programme, strategic alliances will be sought with relevant organisations to provide tangible benefits for GPA members.”

Tyrone Senior Club Football:

Killyclogher coach McGinnity is comfortable in role of underdog

Few seasoned observers of club football in Tyrone are giving St Mary’s the remotest chance of toppling hot favourites Carrickmore in the county final this weekend.

Even if as expected it all comes to an end in Omagh, McGinnity and his players have enjoyed the run. “Sometimes when you visit exotic places it’s the people you meet that you remember.

“They’re great people in Killyclogher, it’s been a refreshing experience mostly because of the people involved and I’ve enjoyed working with the players.

“The championship run has just been a bit of a bonus.”

Acknowledged as a shrewd coach, the Roslea man finds he is invariably linked to a string of club and county positions whenever they become vacant.

As far as returning to the inter-county stuff, he insists “not at the minute”.

McGinnity has already savoured success this year being involved with St Michael’s Enniskillen’s MacRory Cup and Corn na nOg winning teams.

At first, McGinnity thought he’d be around for a few weeks to see the club through the first round of the championship against Clan na nGael in early June, but the team kept winning and winning and he has been there since.

Killyclogher’s dismal league form, which McGinnity admits was “a bit of an enigma”, resulted in relegation last weekend.

“By the time the championship came round, the league form was so poor it had to be forgotten about,” he said.

“The string of results would depress you but thankfully the championship has been a different story.”