Offaly GAA chairman Michael Duignan has strongly criticised the GAA and inter-county managers over the issue of players training with their counties during the club window.
While inter-county training is not permitted before September 14, GAA President John Horan stated last week that the Association have no intention of imposing penalties on teams should they resume training prior to that date.
Speaking on Off The Ball on Monday evening, former Offaly star Duignan said he was “disillusioned” with managers who put pressure on inter-county players while he also hit out at the GAA for their “hypocrisy” of their mixed messages. He also suggested that any teams who are caught training before September should be “thrown out of the championship”.
“We are just coming out of an unprecedented time of our lives, and we can’t talk out of both sides of our mouth here,” he said.
“If community is going to be first and club is going to be first, it would have been easier to bring back county first, from a logistical point of view. The decision was made to go back with their clubs because every player is a club player.
“I’m disillusioned with the direction from inter-county managers, first of all for putting pressure on their players to getting back training because players will do whatever they are asked to do.”
Duignan continued to add that the GAA should have imposed “stricter sanctions” on such inter-county teams while he also criticised the GPA for not taking a stand.
“I am starting with inter-county managers, then county boards for allowing it to happen. I’m also disillusioned with Croke Park for not coming up with stricter sanctions and the players themselves and the GPA in particular for not standing up and saying ‘we’re not accepting this’.
“It is hypocrisy, it is dishonest. What sort of message are we sending to young men, who are supposed to be leaders of their community, between 22 and 25 years of age?
“I think it’s high time that people in the GAA grew up and grew a pair of balls and called it out for what it is.”
Duignan believes that players also need to take responsibility for not standing up to their managers.
“A lot of players could have stood up and said, instead of just being ruled by their inter-county manager say, ‘no, by the way, I’m going to play with my club’ and maybe the ultimate answer was to have no inter-county this year.”