Silly season in the G.A.A. calendar never disappoints

Billy Dodd's Football Analysis

Published 20/02/2016 | 00:00

Billy Dodd.
Billy Dodd.

The silly season has just passed in the G.A.A. calendar and yet again we have not been disappointed by the powers that be.

With a dearth of games we can always rely on officialdom to keep us entertained with decisions that can cause controversy and generate sensational headlines, sometimes warranted but a lot of times it's just to fill column space.

This period of blunders began with the announcement that the majority of Division 4 inter-county players would refuse to play in a proposed new All-Ireland 'B' championship.

In its wisdom Central Council decided to bring this to Congress as one of three proposals for change, so already one suggestion is doomed.

It may be seen as a case of tit for tat because the G.P.A's own suggestion of a champions' league-style competition was rejected without consideration.

In reality all inter-county players want to play in the All-Ireland series proper even if they know they are not going to win it.

The chance of a big day out against one of the championship favourites is an achievable target for any team in the current format. With the G.A.A. and G.P.A. almost bosom buddies these days though, you would think this public disagreement could have been avoided with a little bit of consultation in private.

There is no magic solution on the horizon to the fixtures problem and the mismatches at county level, but these are age-old problems and the opinions of all interested parties need to be taken into account.

The news that Bruce Springsteen will be lining out in his customary position instead of Wexford hurlers and footballers was no big surprise, as these concerts are a major cash cow for the G.A.A.

However, bringing the games forward a week will cause serious concerns for both squads.

I wonder if the players and management were consulted before the decision was made as to the best of my knowledge a lot of college students will be in the final week of their exams?

This is not ideal preparation for their biggest match of the year. I know the counties involved will surely be suitably compensated, but why wasn't the game changed to a week later?

I suppose I do have a slight resentment towards Bruce Springsteen; after all he has played more times in Croke Park than I ever did, despite the fact that he never sold one Model County or club lotto ticket!

The biggest headline grabber was the €2,000 fine dished out to Dromard G.A.A. club for allowing the Jamie Carragher Soccer School to hold their event on the hallowed ground.

This is a charitable organisation called 'The 23 Foundation' which helps people and organisations raise funds to help themselves, as well as donating money.

Check out their website and you can see the fantastic work they do, driven by the famous former Liverpool defender.

The rule banning the use of G.A.A. facilities to other sports is outdated and is blatantly broken on a daily basis.

Go out to any G.A.A. club over the next few nights and see how many have soccer teams training on their all-weather or indoor facilities.

In most cases the same players are playing for both clubs.

Instead of alienating players it can be used as a way of recruiting players to their respective sports.

Can you imagine a blanket ban on soccer clubs using G.A.A. facilities being strictly enforced?

Apart from losing the crucial income generated, I can imagine what would happen when the G.A.A. club calls on the same players to turn up for the first league game.

A two-fingered salute would be the reply of a lot of players. I think it's time for some common sense to prevail.

Wexford People

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