Páraic Duffy keen to axe GAA testimonials

Central Council delegates will discover tomorrow if one of Páraic Duffy’s last acts as GAA director general will be a recommended rulebook change to ban testimonials.

Páraic Duffy keen to axe GAA testimonials

Management committee members will learn this evening if Duffy will table a proposal to ensure GAA members can’t profit from a gathering held in their honour.

Such a motion could be ready to be put on the Clár of next month’s Annual Congress in Croke Park.

Duffy had signalled the GAA was planning to change the rulebook after Colm Cooper’s testimonial dinner in Dublin last October. “Under our current rules we cannot prevent such events from happening,” said Duffy two weeks before the former Kerry star’s event. “Do we need to look at it? Yes, we will look at it. It’s tricky as our current rules don’t allow us to deal with it. We need to look at the rules.

“I’m very clear on this – our organisation does not want testimonials. It’s the message I have got very clearly over the last few weeks. We are an amateur organisation – we don’t reward our players financially.”

Duffy revealed at the time that the GAA’s management committee had sought legal advice on the matter and while nothing could be done in time to prevent the Cooper dinner being staged he said their decision “may have an impact in the future”.

It was revealed this week that a dinner will be held later this year in tribute to legendary RTÉ GAA broadcaster Micheál Ó Muirtcheartaigh with tables of 10 priced at €5,000. However, proceeds from the night will be going to IT Tralee’s Sports Academy.

Ó Muircheartaigh is a member of the IT Tralee board and with his consent they are organising the night.

A letter from IT Tralee to Croke Park was then circulated to county boards but only as a means of notifying them of the event - and not to seek funds for the event. Although the Kerry County Board has a relationship with IT Tralee, they have had no involvement in its organisation.

“Kerry GAA had no hand, act or part in organising the event nor does it stand to benefit from it,” stated county chairman Tim Murphy.

Director of the IT Tralee Foundation Board Ogie Moran said: “Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh has often been referred to as a national treasure and it promises to be a very special night for his family, Irish sport, and indeed, the larger GAA family.” Added IT Tralee President Dr. Oliver Murphy: “It is testament to his unending generosity that he has decided to donate 100% of the proceeds from this fundraising gala dinner to this very worthy cause.”

It follows An Ghaeltacht’s gala event in Killarney in December, which honoured the Ó Sé brothers although that was a fundraiser for a second pitch for the club.

Templeogue Synge-Street will next month host a gala evening in honour of their club man Denis Bastick, who announced his inter-county retirement before Christmas. The night will also honour Eoghan O’Gara and Niall Scully, who along with Bastick were members of Dublin’s 2017 All-Ireland winning panel. However, none of the players will benefit financially from the event.

“The tickets will barely cover the costs of it,” said club secretary David Murray. “Denis is getting nothing out of it.”

The complete set of motions will be released in the coming weeks with at least one Club Players Association proposal likely to be considered, having been adopted by Wexford, and the Gaelic Players Association now permitted to table a recommendation.

Meanwhile Colm Cooper has been named Kerry Person of the Year by the Kerry Association in Dublin.

Said Association chairperson Keelin Kissane: “We hope this recognition by his own will go some small way to show how much we have admired and appreciated his achievements and all that he has given to the game and to the people of Kerry for many, many years.”

The awards will be presented on Friday,March 2.

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