It was never really about the report. Nowhere in GAA director-general Tom Ryan’s annual offering was there a criticism of the Gaelic Players Association (GPA). Nowhere in those 60 pages was there a mention or a scintilla of evidence that the GAA consider the inter-county players’ body ‘a problem child’.
The Tuesday night after Donegal scraped through the 2014 All-Ireland quarter-final, Jim McGuinness crammed his players into a makeshift portable building at Donegal’s yet-to-be-built Centre of Excellence in Convoy.
When Diarmuid Connolly sat back into the pocket, setting himself up for power fade with the outside of his right boot, in a similar way to Ronan O’Gara and the Grand Slam drop goal over a decade ago, I thought perhaps the story was written in the stars for the prodigal son to return home with the fattened calf.
The birthplace of Irish hospitality is undoubtedly east Cork thanks to Myrtle Allen and her Ballymaloe House and the market town of Midleton, long time host of one of the country’s original farmer’s markets, is the very natural HQ for the upcoming fEAST food festival (September 1-8) although events span the region.