Cork board seek ways to assist players

THE leadership of the Cork County Board had made it clear that it is prepared to investigate ways of helping out players who lose money through their playing involvement with the county.

Without offering any guarantees, the executive will seek clarification from Croke Park officials on what assistance, if any, could be offered without breaching the association's rules. "What we would be anxious to do is to help out without breaking the amateur status,'' outgoing PRO Pat Horgan explained yesterday. However, he accepted that some counties and even clubs did help out players financially.

Confirming that contact had been made with player representatives earlier in the day, Mr Horgan stated that with the exception of the three items outside their remit - reimbursement for lost earnings, mileage and tickets - all the issues raised by the players - had been dealt with in full, in their entirety.

As a result of the views put forward at Tuesday night's special meeting of the county board, he said that the executive would vigorously pursue the question of having the mileage rate increased from 38c. Likewise, they would hope for some movement on the matter of giving players a bigger number of complimentary tickets for championship games.

Mr Horgan, one of three candidates for the position of vice-chairman (along with Mick Dolan and Mick O'Loughlin), said they were optimistic of a speedy response from the hurlers to the latest developments. "They are to come back to us after looking at the decisions made on Tuesday night,'' he added.

"I think everybody is fairly positive about the outcome of the meeting.'' He added: "I'd be very confident that all the hard work that has been put in on both sides will bear fruit very quickly. We understand that there is a sub-committee at national level working on a number of issues, including mileage, at the moment. Cork will push very strongly for an increase in the rate as a mater of urgency and we have communicated that to the players.

"Currently, our hands are tied at 38c and the players have accepted that. Everybody gets that rate Central Council delegates, officers and others. The question of reimbursing players for loss of earnings is one that is outside our remit. On this matter and the issue of tickets, the board delegates were very strong of the view that the executive would contact Croke Park and see what improvements could be achieved.

"We would be confident that some improvement can be made on the mileage rate and on the tickets - where we are governed at the moment by a decision of Central Council.''

Mr Horgan pointed out that while it had been made clear at the meeting that they did not wish to change the amateur status of the association, it was acknowledged that there were special cases, for instance where people were self-employed or members of the Garda or army.

"In view of the views expressed by several delegates it was decided that clarification would be sought on this matter. It was pointed that clubs and other counties were helping people out and that we weren't.

"What we agreed was that while we would not be doing anything to interfere with the amateur status we would be trying to see if we could help,'' he added.

Meanwhile, Gary Coleman, son of former manager Eamonn Coleman, has been left out of the Derry training squad by new team boss Mickey Moran.

Coleman was reported to have been considering retiring from inter-county football.

However, the former minor All-Ireland winner has stated that he did wish to continue playing.

The relationship between Coleman and Moran has not been ideal. In 1994, after Moran had controversially taken over from Eamonn Coleman as Derry boss, Gary withdrew from the squad before being convinced to return.

"We didn't get on. I didn't speak to him and he didn't speak to me but I didn't give him any hassle," Coleman admitted recently.

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