Inter-county grants decision sparks fury

Several current and former inter-county players have taken to Twitter to express their disagreement with Sport Ireland’s decision to withhold last year’s Government grants.

SI is refusing to release the monies as the GPA has yet to agree to new anti-doping measures, which would see it next year provide SI with the home addresses of inter-county players for home drug tests.

Current Tipperary football captain Robbie Kiely commented: “No issue with what has been said in each (GPA and SI) statement however since both parties agreed terms on a 3 year deal in 2016 why is there a hold on the 2017 grants? As SI have said this is for 2019 so why not hold the 2019 grants if @GPA and Sports Ireland have not agreed on the issue”.

Longford footballer Pauric Gill tweeted: “Sport Ireland moving the goalposts and reneging on the deal which was made. There is only one party in the wrong here.”

In response to former athlete David Gillick’s point that home drug testing was part of being a funded athlete, 2011 footballer of the year Alan Brogan posted: “A funded athlete david .. it’s about €400 a year.”

Westmeath footballer John Connellan also responded to Gillick.

“It’s laughable how this tiny little perk is being used as a stick to beat GAA players with! Everyone is for clean sport. But it seems on Twitter it’s athletes like yourself who have received a lot of funding from SI through the years suggesting I who might receive a token gesture of €400 a year should be held to the same standards.”

Former Limerick hurler Seánie Tobin tweeted: “Shameful. Amateur players, who give so much of their own free time to prepare and play our national game, get pretty much f@ck all to cover personal expense. I’d rather keep my dignity and be out of pocket than accept what Sport Ireland are suggesting.

“GAA players barely get a minute to spend with partners, families, friends, and you want extra time to be taken from them, to allow strangers call to their homes that they work 5/6 days a week to pay for to be drug tested. They get €500 per year. Come on!!!”

Irish race-walker Colin Griffin wrote about home testing: Most athletes in Olympic sports may lead a professional lifestyle but very few are paid professionals. Many also combine work, study & family and still get tested at home. Inconvenient but necessary for credibility of their performances & their sport”.

Former Olympic triathlete Gavin Noble (@gavontwitt) tweeted: In 2018 County GAA players will directly receive between 970 to 2227 Euro for being good in their county. 2.3million. Pretty good deal when you consider the amount of athletes with no funding or paid professional coaching trying to make it internationally.”

Lizzie Lee, who represented Ireland at the Rio games tweeted: “I’m an amateur runner, working full time. I’ve had testers wake my smallies on a week/school night to take my blood in my kitchen. I’m ok with it, as it makes my performances believable and helps the sport as a whole!”


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