James O’Donoghue and Richie Hogan capped off great seasons with the premier individual awards in their respective codes last night.
Kerry’s O’Donoghue became the first man from the county to claim the footballer of the year award since Paul Galvin in 2009.
Neither Donegal’s Ryan McHugh nor Tipperary’s Cathal Barrett were named in the All Star selections but both were young player of the year recipients.
At the GPA’s AGM, the inter-county players’ body agreed to look for further funds from the GAA next year while it was also agreed they would educate members on the dangers of concussion.
In his address to the agm, chief executive Dessie Farrell asked how much more can be asked of inter-county players.
“Everyone speaks of how Gaelic games have evolved over the years but it’s worth pausing to consider the implications.
“We are now in an era of strategic game plans with tactical nuances, advanced strength and conditioning programmes, complex drills to increase speed and agility, GPS monitoring, strict nutritional plans, fat burn and lean muscle protein shakes, in-depth video analysis, collective and individual real time stats, psycho babble, jujitsu, training camps... on and on it goes.
“And everyone loves it; the crowds throng, the sponsors flock and the TV audiences grow — all around the world. Over the last decade, at numerous times, we thought we had reached saturation point in terms of the level of professionalism being introduced and the dedication of county players. We seemingly have not and I don’t hear anyone shouting stop anytime soon.
“In society with the advancement in technology, devices of all shapes and sizes, the ‘internet of things’, social media and so on, some argue that proper interaction between human beings; family, friends, colleagues is suffering. This may or may not be true but it is a valid question to ask — with all this progression, does anything give way? The same question applies within our sports. The county boards appoint the managers who, year on year, improve the standards with even more sophisticated approaches which require more buy-in and dedication from the players. What gives? I think we know.
“The years players commit to the county game are also the formative years in their careers, outside of the game. Some players get this but many don’t. For many of our players, they are actually in denial. For others they recognise it but hope it all works out or that they can play catch-up later.”
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