With each new GAA presidential term comes a fresh determination to grapple with the problems that continue to limit the scope and ambition of the country’s largest sporting organisation.
Cork’s Christy Cooney will throw his considerable energies into stamping out indiscipline on the field of play, though his task has not been helped by the weekend decision of Congress not to incorporate the experimental yellow card rule into GAA rule.
He will also continue the GAA’s progress towards official recognition of the Gaelic Players’ Association, but that is hardly a priority. What the new president must focus on is the drift in urban participation and support for the GAA and the impact that the likes of rugby is having on volunteers, parents, players and supporters. He will do so in an economic climate far more depressed than when either Sean Kelly or his predecessor Nickey Brennan took office. That will limit GAA funding and spending, which is why the association’s voluntary ethos will be more important than ever. Little wonder the new president has pledged to listen carefully to what the grassroots have to say.
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