There has been a lot of talk about the currently forming Club Players Association, a group created to ensure that club players don’t get neglected as the GAA moves forward. After the Gaelic Players Association made a lot of noise when they first came onto the scene, it will be interesting to see how the CPA introduce themselves to the wider public.
They need a test case – something that will grab national headlines. They need to sort out a messy situation and prove their worth. The GAA has enough people standing on the sidelines giving out but not actively doing anything to fix.
Already this winter, we have seen a number of cases where teams have played their county finals on a Saturday, before playing in the provincial championships 24 hours later. This has happened to a few county champions who have been put in a difficult situation – and not given a fair chance in the provincial competitions. It also gives the CPA a perfect chance to come in and try to find a compromise – however, we have yet to see it happen.
Another case was in the Munster JHC where the game between Cork champions Mayfield and Limerick representatives St Patricks, descended into farce as the Cork side put 4-32 past the home side in the Gaelic Grounds. Pats, who are due to play Na Piarsaigh in this weekends Limerick JHC final were put forward to represent the county as the last remaining first-string side left in the competition.
However, the Limerick city side looked to have the game postponed – and even offered to concede home advantage – as they had eight starters away at a stag party that had been booked months in advance. (The local championship would be finished had Pats’ semi-final not go to two replays so the timing of the trip isn’t unreasonable). Mayfield, as was their right, refused to re-arrange the game and eased to victory.
This was the perfect opportunity for an association that claims to have the needs of the club player at heart, to jump in and try to find a compromise. Could the game have been played on the Bank Holiday, as St Patricks offered? Considering the semi-final isn’t even scheduled for this weekend, and the final isn’t until the first weekend of December, what was the rush to play this game?
The CPA could have come into the reckoning with a bang had they intervened and tried to get the teams to find a compromise in this case.
Instead of giving out about teams playing two big games in one weekend, why not get started straight away, seeing as they have given themselves authority as a voice for the club player?
One of the big criticisms of the Gaelic Players Association, was the accusation of self-interest on their part, and only looking after the elite in the sport. The Club Players Association want to be different. They want to look after the everyman, the average club player who just wants to play the games they love without county boards putting of games for months on end.
There was amble opportunity to get going over the last few weekends, but unfortunately, it has been a false start for the CPA.
Over the weekend the CPA’s Twitter feed was posting updates on high-profile GAA figures who are supporting their cause. They also gave out contact details for people to come to them for issues. If the CPA are going to be a worthwhile organisation, they have to be pro-active and look at these cases and try to find a satisfactory result.
It’s the players who are missing out otherwise.