Dublin’s four-time All-Star Paul Flynn has defended both the All-Ireland champions and the GPA against recent attacks by newspaper columnists.
Flynn addressed former Monaghan footballer Dick Clerkin’s comments about Dublin not being represented on the International Rules panel. The secretary of the official inter-county players’ body, he also spoke about Colm O’Rourke’s recent criticism of the salary sizes among the GPA’s full-time staff.
Clerkin had already been taken to task on Twitter by both Flynn’s colleagues, Jack McCaffrey and James McCarthy, for suggesting Dublin snubbed Joe Kernan. Flynn, who played in the 2013 series in Ireland, but wasn’t asked to train with the group this time around, dismissed Clerkin as attempting to draw attention to himself.
“There were lads who would have loved to go. I think the point Dick is missing is it’s not as if there was a wide thing of ‘here, any Dub please come along’. They picked lads who were on form and who they felt could add to the team.
“Unfortunately, some of those lads had club commitments. I know, because I was talking to a few lads who were mad keen to go and who were in WhatsApp groups with the squad right up until before the games, and they actually just couldn’t go, so, for him to come out with that comment was a bit blunt, if you ask me, but he’s probably just trying to get a bit of publicity.”
Former Meath star O’Rourke, who has been a long-standing critic of the GPA, drew attention to the GPA’s 2016 financial report in which it pointed out the total salaries for 12 employees last year amounted to just over €921,121, describing some of the wages as “lavish”.
Flynn, who stressed the GPA have worked on reducing that figure since last year, responded: “In fairness, he’s a great columnist and has a great readership, but he’s had a number of goes at the GPA in the last number of years.
“I’m not fully sure as to why, but I’m not going to sit here and go toe-to-toe with him and he’s more than entitled to share his opinions.
“With regards to the salaries: Firstly, yes it is not-for-profit, but it’s an organisation that needs to be run. I see it, day-in, day-out, because I work in recruitment and there’s a war on talent out there. It doesn’t matter if it’s not-for-profit or if it’s in the private sector or whatever it is, you have to pay people what the market rate is.
“Every role in the GPA is benchmarked by an independent compensation benefits consultant, who comes in, sizes a job and uses indicators to compare it on a like-for-like basis with a like-for-like job in a like-for-like organisation, ie not-for-profit.
“The process internally then is, whatever way it is sized, to go below the average.”
Flynn, 31, weds fellow Dublin senior footballer Fiona Hudson next week and he will return from honeymoon in mid-January eager to embark on his 11th senior inter-county season.
Because he twice pulled his calf, he was ruled out of the Leinster championship, but is in good shape at the moment.
Playing badminton with Stephen Cluxton in Portmarnock, he says, helps, though he has struggled to get the better of the goalkeeper.
“I wouldn’t mind, he’s unreal at it. We went in the first day, I thought he might be kind of above average, but no, the club is a very high standard of lads that play there and he’s up with the top lads.”
The “exciting” prospect of playing in the Super 8 in 2018 appeals to Flynn.
“Myself and Berno (Brogan) were chatting about it, as well. I was saying it’s something new. As well as that, if the panel is big, you are questioning are you going to get back in the team. You are going to get a couple more games and, if a lad picks up a knock and is out for a week, he’s not going to get back for the second leg.”
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