GAA in denial, claims former President Kelly

EX-PRESIDENT Sean Kelly has questioned the GAA’s criticism of an ESRI/Irish Sports Council report on playing numbers and suggested the Association would be better served putting its energy into giving its membership more games to play.

Croke Park officials were quick to rubbish the report last week which claimed there was “a relative decline” in numbers playing gaelic games compared to other sporting activities.

However, Mr Kelly, writing in today’s Irish Examiner, said the GAA would be “very foolish” and “even offensive” to question the veracity of the findings.

He criticised Croke Park’s response to the report — “a mixture of denials, accusations and ridicule” — pointing out that the report’s authors, Dr Pete Lunn and Peter Smyth, were two of the more eminent figures capable of conducting such research.

“Professionals of this kind shouldn’t have and most likely don’t have any axe to grind one way or the other,” Mr Kelly writes. “One of the most worrying aspects for the GAA is that participation in other sports is growing at a time when the GAA is pouring millions and millions into game development.

“So rather than curse the darkness and pour water on the ESRI report, we should light a candle and look for ways in which we can get more people playing our games more often.”


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