A major dispute has broken out between the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) and the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) over the payment of expenses to inter-county stars for traveling to training and matches, and it shows little sign of abating soon after managers and players alike imposed a media blackout after National Football League games last weekend.
Only Jack O'Connor (Kerry), Padraic Joyce (Galway), Seamus McEnaney (Monaghan), and John Maughan (Offaly) gave media interviews after their teams had won games in league action on March 12 and 13, and the row continued in the back pages on Tuesday.
The GPA want players paid their expenses for all training sessions and match activities, but the GAA are adamant that they will only honor payments for up to four team events per week, with director-general Tom Ryan saying as much in a letter to county boards on Monday.
RTÉ reports that Ryan told the county secretaries, “For the purposes of clarity, the sole difference between the 2022 charter, and the charter that was in place pre-Covid, is that the 65 cent per mile expense rate provided for in the new charter covers up to four collective training sessions/games per week only.
“The metric of up to four collective sessions is arrived at following consultation with yourselves (counties) in recent weeks and represents a level that is sustainable for counties and for players alike.
“The mileage rate for any additional training sessions/games now requires to be negotiated locally between each county and their players, in the context of the overall budget for the preparation of your county team. I know that you will undertake this in a spirit of fairness and respect for players.”
Gaelic Players Association CEO Tom Parsons has rejected the claims made by the GAA and insisted in an interview with RTE on Sunday night that the media boycott will continue this weekend and for the foreseeable future.
“Players want to take action just to get reimbursed,” said Parsons. “We are meeting with representatives and captains this week. We’ll be talking about that possible further action. There will be action this week, but we’re hoping the GAA comes back and just boxes this off. I’m hoping it is resolved this week.”
The media ban meant Dublin boss Dessie Farrell didn’t talk about his team’s 0-13 to 0-8 Division 1 win over Tyrone in Omagh on Sunday when home star Padraig Hampsey was sent off for the second time in this league campaign, but reports on Tuesday said he won’t face any extended suspension.
Like Dublin, Monaghan eased their relegation fears with an impressive 1-12 to 0-10 win over Donegal in Ballybofey, the first home defeat for Donegal at the McCumhaill Park ground since 2010.
Monaghan boss Seamus McEnaney did speak after the priceless win and told RTÉ, “It was a very important two points. We came up here on a mission. Donegal hadn’t been beaten here in 12 years.
“We have an experienced group of players that value the status of Division 1, we won’t be letting go of that mantle easily. We had three massive performances in our first three league games, albeit we came out of it with only two points. We felt the Kerry game was in isolation.”
Kildare remain in relegation trouble after their 1-12 to 0-10 defeat to Armagh at the Gaelic Grounds while Kerry were 1-12 to 0-14 winners over Mayo in the big game in Tralee on Saturday night as they opened up a two-point lead at the top of the Division One table.
*This column first appeared in the March 16 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.
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