By Paul Keane
Hurling icon Brendan Cummins has advised the GAA to get in front of future media storms and to take control of them immediately.
The former Tipperary star was critical of the tone and wording of statements issued by the GAA regarding both the Liam Miller tribute game and the ‘Newbridge or nowhere’ episode.
It was initially stated that Kildare definitely wouldn’t have home advantage for their football qualifier against Mayo, though the GAA quickly relented.
Also, Cummins said the GAA’s statement confirming they had “sought legal advice” over the Miller tribute game and where it could be staged struck the wrong chord.
“From a PR point of view, they probably have to look at who is wording those statements and how they’re being put together and try to get ahead of these things and get themselves some breathing space.
“We all understand the size of the GAA and what it has done for the country, that the people that are working in the GAA are lining the pitches, they are involved with underage club teams, but when a statement goes out like that, that is your first foot forward and if that’s not right, then you fuel all this.”
Asked if the GAA’s brand has been damaged by appearing to go against the public’s wishes twice in a matter of weeks, Cummins said: “Yeah, in the short-term it doesn’t look great. Sometimes you have to stumble a little bit before you learn lessons and I think huge lessons have been learned in the the past number of months within the organisation. Congress is going to be really interesting when we get to that point, because it should give voice to what the grassroots are saying now. That grassroots rising, we should see it in Congress and then we should see a bit of a change, that will be the interesting thing, but in the short-term, the Liam Miller game I’d like to see at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.”