Declan Brennan plans club player body after ‘10,000 messages’

Former Monaghan selector Declan Brennan has unveiled plans to establish a Club Players Association (CPA), revealing that he’s received over 10,000 messages from interested parties wishing to contribute.

The CPA’s goal will be to ensure a voice for club players countrywide, with particular emphasis on the fixtures schedule, which often sees them without games for weeks and months on end as the inter-county season is in progress.

Brennan, regarded as the driving force behind Dublin City University’s first Sigerson Cup win in 2006, is also a four-time county SFC-winning manager with Clontibret, with whom he won two titles as a player. Brennan worked alongside former Meath star Colm Coyle when he was Monaghan manager and, after a stint with DCU, he worked with Ulster University (Jordanstown) for two years at Sigerson Cup level.

Brennan aims to hold a national meeting “within the next three-to-four weeks”, at which plans will be formalised for the establishment of the CPA.

He revealed: “At that meeting, we intend to send out the message in relation to what we’re about, and where we’re going with this as an organisation. We don’t necessarily see ourselves setting something up in stone for years ahead, it’s more to identify the problems at the moment, and put forward what we think should be done.

“We need to help the administrators in Croke Park, who have so much bureaucracy and red tape to go through, that they can’t manage it.

“It has to come from the players themselves, they have to drive this over the line. They want time off, and they want to play football at decent times of the year. I see no difference between the club and county player; they’re all putting in the same effort and deserve the same respect.

“This is not about me,” stressed Monaghan native Brennan. “I’m not involved with anybody at this moment in time and don’t intend to be, but I suppose, over the years, I’ve witnessed a lot of things going on and it’s come to a head over the last number of months.”

It was reported earlier this year that Down legend Conor Deegan was considering setting up a group similar to the GPA to represent club players, and now Brennan has come forward with similar plans.

He said: “I’m not sure who was talking and I haven’t really been listening to what other people had in mind. I’m not going on this on a solo run. A number of people contacted me asking to get involved in some capacity. I felt the best way to do so would be to speculate on how much hurt and anxiety is out there, by a simple text, Facebook, email and social media. I’ve received over 10,000 messages, mostly from club players, not from officials

“I was never fond of the administration end of things, I’ve always been involved in coaching and management. I have great respect for people that do that, but it’s come to a head that they’re so far removed from the reality of what’s going on in the day-to-day situation with clubs.

“People are telling me they’re totally frustrated by the lack of respect, with fixtures being put on at short notice. People are going to America for two or three months and missing very little and then, at the end of the year, they’re playing through the gutters. Look at the Dublin situation, where lads were asked to play a week after the All-Ireland final. People need to wake up to this.”

Brennan’s business, DBSM Sports Management centre of excellence, is based in Castleshane, Monaghan.

Brennan and his team specialise in premier sports performance and injury rehabilitation.

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