Leinster chairman Pat Teehan is against the idea of splitting Dublin and hit out at their critics.
In his address to the province’s convention this evening, the Offaly man commended the Dublin senior footballers on their unprecedented success.
“The achievement of the Dublin footballers in creating history, in both Leinster and nationally, warrants special mention. The team has enjoyed unparalleled success. Ten Leinster titles in a row and six All-Ireland championships.
“However in the wake of the Metropolitan’s historic success it is unfortunate that some people have decided to target Dublin in a negative manner, with suggestions being put forward, in some quarters, for collective collaboration to prevent a team from being successful.
“Yes Dublin have advantages in terms of population and in terms of the finance they can raise. Corporate and sponsorship opportunities offer them access to money not available everywhere — that’s a fact of life. Their continued success helps that process. But the people calling for their dismantling have short memories. It is not so long ago since Gaelic Games was the third most popular sport in the capital.
“That has been turned around by proper structures put in place at club and county level and by a lot of hard work. Do we really want to see that effort decline or even see it reversed? Surely that would be counterproductive for our Association?
“There is nothing to be gained from division or in depicting Dublin as a problem when, in fact, the opposite is the case. A vibrant GAA in the capital is good for the entire Association and no amount of misguided commentary can change that fact.
“It has long been recognised that the large number of people in Dublin, as opposed to other counties, poses challenges on a number of fronts. The response has to be measured and carefully analysed to ensure that the GAA nationally and in Dublin benefits. It can never be a Dublin v The Rest situation. That’s not the way the GAA has ever operated and it can’t — or won’t — start now.”
Teehan says the work to level the playing field rests with the other counties in Leinster. “Of course we cannot sit back and admire the achievements of Dublin and simply throw in the towel, when it comes to challenging their dominance at senior football level. The bar has been set very high but it is up to all of us to raise our standards, to be the best that we can be, and if that’s good enough to win titles then all the better.
“We in Leinster GAA cannot shirk our responsibilities either and we will continue to have a major part to play in helping our counties to develop and grow their potential. We will continue to assist our units and ensure that they have the resources to grow our games and to improve standards.
“We cannot sit back and complain about the inequality that exists between various counties. For as long as the Association has existed, the county structure has been in place and I cannot see that changing any time soon.”