Talks with GPA on the cards

NEGOTIATIONS between Croke Park and the GPA to discuss official recognition for the players’ body will recommence shortly, according to Christy Cooney.

Talks, which had been taking place for two years between the two organisations, broke down prior to Nickey Brennan’s departure as president over the issue of GPA funding. Brennan described it as his “one regret” in office.

Brennan claimed the breakdown in talks came as the GPA sought a specific percentage of GAA income to fund their activities.

“I am taking some time over the next period just to review where we are and we will let the matter run it’s course then,” said Cooney. “I am sure Pauric (Duffy) and I will be sitting down with Dessie (Farrell) and Donal Óg Cusack in the very near future and having a chat about things.

“Nickey, as you know, had proposals before the GPA. For whatever reason they weren’t acceptable so we need to take a little bit of time now to consider where things are.”

Yesterday was the first Cooney spent at the hub of GAA operations in Croke Park having spent the day on Monday visiting five schools in and around his native Youghal.

Speaking at the launch of the VHI GAA Cúl Camps, Cooney revealed he begins his mission to visit at least 40 clubs around the country ever year with a trip to Fingallians in Dublin next week.

“It is a great opportunity to hear what the grassroots want and what changes they see are necessary but also the strengths they see in our association and how we can enhance them.

“The urban area is the other big area for us. We have a new urban committee in place and they will be getting to work quite shortly, putting templates in place as to how we can best energise the games in our urban areas.”

Sunday will see Cooney at Croke Park for the National League finals. But it remains to be seen how many people join him there for the Division One and Two deciders. The president preferred not to put a figure on a possible attendance.

“We have announced a reduction of e5 from our prices of last year and that is a way of saying thank you to supporters. We know we are going through a difficult economic time in this country as well. Five euros is a good response. It is an 18% drop so it is a significant drop. We are making a big effort this week to publicise it in all the counties and to encourage people to come. We believe we will have two quality games here on Sunday.”


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