GPA’s Paul Flynn sees merit in body for club players

Gaelic Players’ Association (GPA) secretary Paul Flynn admits that a new organisation specifically designed to cater for club players could be worth pursuing.

Gaelic Players’ Association (GPA) secretary Paul Flynn admits that a new organisation specifically designed to cater for club players could be worth pursuing.

Down football legend Conor Deegan claimed in January that club players are being “driven into the ground”, particularly with regard to club fixtures being put on hold to accommodate inter-county activity, and revealed he was considering setting up a body similar to the GPA to represent them.

Former Cork footballer Derek Kavanagh echoed the comments in March and Flynn, a three-time All-Ireland medalist with Dublin, said he can understand why they are frustrated.

The GPA currently caters for inter-county players only and Flynn said he could see some merit in a separate organisation to represent club players, who make up around 98% of the GAA’s playing population.

“I don’t see why it would do any harm,” said Flynn. “I don’t really know what it would look like, to be honest. It would probably be more of a lobbying [group] to the GAA.

“Even just thinking there, when you say it, it would be pressing the GAA about the [championship] structure, that would be the key thing that they’d want.

“It’s such a tough one for the club players. If you, for instance, take an inter-county player who has to be flexible with their work because of their commitments, that can’t work for club players as easily, so, we have to have a structure in place that facilitates club players to be able to train during the week and have good games at the weekend and on a constant basis. I don’t know what that looks like, that’s the problem. It’s just about trying to find something that fits all and I suppose it’s hard to get something passed when you need to get 66% of the vote at congress.”

Flynn shrugged when it was suggested that there seems to be a growing divide between club and county players.

“I don’t really know. At the end of the day, all the county players are club players, as well. What we do want, if you talk to any county player, is a structure that allows us to play more games with our clubs.”

Wing-forward Flynn missed Dublin’s recent game against Laois with a hamstring injury, but said he’s ‘pretty confident’ he’ll be fit to play Meath in the semi-finals on Sunday week.


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