GAA will talk with GPA after the All-Ireland, says Nickey

GAA TALKS with the Gaelic Players’ Association (GPA) on official recognition for the players’ body are set to resume shortly, according to GAA president Nickey Brennan.

He was reacting to speculation from GPA chief executive Dessie Farrell that the GPA are still intent on taking what they see as their fair share from the TV cash pie.

“Until the All-Ireland finals are over we’re up to our neck in normal day-to-day GAA business,” stated Brennan. “We have said that post the All-Irelands we’ll sit down and engage with the GPA again. From All-Ireland final on is the talking time of the GAA season and we will do that. I’m sure various matters will come up, we’ll see what one another has to say.

“What I can say is that we will be engaging again with the GPA on the whole recognition process. It’s well documented how I feel on this, that we should work hard towards recognising the GPA. They’re there, they’re not going to go away, I’d like to think we’ll be in a position to bring it before the Central Council before I leave office, that we’ll have a set of proposals which will be acceptable to our association. I’m determined to work towards that, I’m absolutely sure the GPA are of like mind, hopefully we can make progress — we’ll have to get stuck in post the All-Ireland.”

Meanwhile the GPA have welcomed the decision of Armagh footballer Steven McDonnell to turn down alucrative sponsorship deal with Lucozade Sport in order to pledge his support to the GPA sponsor Energise Sport.

McDonnell was approached by Lucozade over the last few days as regards signing a deal but has chosen to remain loyal to the players body drink company. While Energise Sport is a GPA sponsor, a number of high-profile GAA players have previously signed deals with other organisations. Lucozade Sport already have a number of GAA players on their books including Tipperary’s Eoin Kelly and Brendan Cummins, Armagh’s Oisín McConville and Westmeath’s Dessie Dolan, while Powerade have used Wexford goalkeeper Damien Fitzhenry and Galway’s Pádraig Joyce in their ad campaigns. GPA Chief Executive Dessie Farrell yesterday praised McDonnell for his actions. “I think Steven’s decision sends a very positive signal to all players and reminds them of the importance of Energise Sport to the GPA and therefore to themselves.

“Huge progress has been made for players since the GPA came on the scene but none of that could have been achieved without the Energise Sport sponsorship. Unlike individual deals, this arrangement benefits all county players collectively.”

GPA chairman Dónal Óg Cusack also expressed admiration for McDonnell’s stance. “I think all players should look at the broader picture when faced with offers from rival brands. While we will not condemn a player for doing an individual deal, we need to emphasise the importance of the Energise Sport partnership. The GPA is there for every county player. Now we need players to be there for the GPA and they can be, by supporting Energise Sport wherever possible.”

Following on from McDonnell’s decision Monaghan footballer Paul Finlay has called on all county boards to accept Energise Sport as sponsors in order to show their support for players. “This would be a huge gesture of support for players if more county boards accepted Energise Sport as sponsors over rival brands,” said Finlay.

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