Devereux raises spectre of GAA ‘claims culture’

Wexford chairman Diarmuid Devereux believes the GAA are asking for trouble by allowing senior and U21 championship games go ahead so close to one another.

As nine of Liam Dunne’s senior panel prepare for tomorrow evening’s U21 final against Dublin, before Saturday’s All-Ireland SHC qualifier replay with Clare, Devereux says the GAA are running the risk of a “claims culture” in the future.

He also questions if leading officials are “not able to hear the alarm bells because the cash register is too loud”.

Four players involved in Wexford’s extra-time draw with in Ennis last Saturday — Liam Ryan, Conor McDonald, Jack Guiney and Conor Devitt — are U21.

Devereux is concerned too much is being asked of young men. “We were told on Saturday evening in Ennis that the (U21) game wouldn’t be going ahead but we have been informed now that it is going ahead.

“Some of our young players are being asked to play three games in a seven-day period. Now allowing for extra-time, it’s reasonable to assume that that’s somewhere close to 300 minutes of competitive championship hurling.

“What I’d like someone to answer for me, would anybody in normal society regard that as being reasonable for the health and well-being of any young player?

“We have reports in the GAA about burnout. We have evidence in Wexford and other counties of young players with hip injuries and various issues like that. And yet knowing all that, and with the medical information we have, we’re asking these young players in a seven-day period to possibly compete in five hours of competitive championship hurling. The question I’m asking is, is that really necessary? And is it the right thing to do?”

Devereux continued: “The other point is at some stage, I believe, parents and young players will say enough is enough and when these young men get these physiological injuries, or the burnout damage that goes with that, we’re opening up a claims culture down the road and that all of this is going to have to be paid for.

“The alarm bells are ringing for the GAA on the possibility of claims down the road for all this. Is it a case we’re not able to hear the alarm bells because the cash register is too loud?”

Devereux suggested Dublin’s influence had ensured tomorrow night’s game in Parnell Park would be played.

“We were told this match wouldn’t go ahead, Dublin didn’t agree with that and everybody knows we’re not one of the power-brokers. We’re one of those counties that we do what we’re told… the game will be played and that’s the end of it.”


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