Kieran Kingston unsure if 'digital platforms' way of the future for teams

Cork hurling manager Kieran Kingston has offered a lukewarm response to the suggestion that 'digital platforms' could be used more in future team preparation, to cut down on travelling and expenses.
Kieran Kingston unsure if 'digital platforms' way of the future for teams

Cork manager Kieran Kingston. Photo: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Cork manager Kieran Kingston. Photo: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Cork hurling manager Kieran Kingston has offered a lukewarm response to the suggestion that 'digital platforms' could be used more in future team preparation, to cut down on travelling and expenses.

GAA President John Horan stated during his Sunday Game interview that online platforms such as Zoom have provided a useful service for teams to train and communicate together during the lockdown.

He proposed that, when training and games return, 'training programmes for county teams could take advantage of digital platforms' and suggested this could both ease the burden on players and help county boards with team expenses.

GAA Director General Tom Ryan talked in February of possible 'spending caps' to curb spiralling expenditure on inter-county teams, almost €30m in 2019.

Cork boss Kingston said he's open to anything that improves team preparation but doesn't envisage replacing collective gatherings or face to face meetings with remote sessions.

"It's a technical enough question so I'd have to reflect on how it could be used more and listen to whatever options are there," said Kingston.

"A couple of months ago I was hardly aware of Zoom but we've all relied on things like that over the last few weeks for work, business and family communications.

Will that ever replace team meetings or the one-on-ones we have with players? I personally can't see that, no.

"Most of the team talks, briefings and discussions would occur as part of a training session anyhow, during it or afterwards. I can only speak of what happens in Cork but lads aren't coming together specifically for team meetings."

Horan referenced the ESRI report of 2018 which noted that inter-county players devote up to 31 hours per week on their team involvement, between travel, preparation and training.

The GAA official suggested that 'ourselves and the GPA and some county managers could be brought into a room to discuss' how digital platforms could be retained going forward.

Cutting down on costs such as travel and catering would clearly help county boards who are paying out millions each year.

Tipperary GAA spent close to €1.8m on inter-county team expenses in 2019, an increase of over €620,000 which was partly down to the county's All-Ireland hurling success.

Tipp chairman John Devane acknowledged that expenses have been 'spiralling every year' though, like Kingston, isn't certain how digital platforms could improve the situation.

"Any new system that comes in and helps, is cost effective and is doing a job would have to be considered," said Devane.

"I think people do forget at times though that the games schedule is also leading to more expense. Take the hurling Championship, in the round robin you have four games in a short period of time. Players have to prepare as professionals for that. The first year of it in Munster, we had four games in three weeks. That takes a fair bit of intensive preparation and costs money. We need to look at all that and we have been doing that. Now can we deliver all that more efficiently? This new online digital aspect may be an area that can help."

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