Tuesday’s GAA mediawatch
We know that Tuesday’s can be busy at work, in school or in the university library. Or maybe you just haven’t made it out of bed yet. Whatever the reason, we’ve done you the favour of rounding up all of today’s big GAA stories to save you that trip to the shop.
Farrell says gambling widespread in GAA
GPA boss Dessie Farrell has told the Irish Independent that gambling addiction among GAA players is “like a steam train coming down the tracks” for the GAA.
Farrell revealed that three inter-county players have availed of GPA services in the past year to enter treatment centres for the problem, but that many more are now “coming out of the woodwork.”
Farrell said, “In the last six months, this whole issue of gambling has taken us by surprise.
“It’s that severe and that widespread. But we’re starting to ask more questions about it now. Gambling is so accessible. You can have fellas on a coach going to a Championship game and they’re on the iPhone, making bets. It’s become a big, big problem. We’re trying to get people who are dealing with these mental health/addiction issues back on their feet and give them a plan.
“But we’re finding that a lot of players are on this merry-go-round, just ghosting through their lives. They mightn’t necessarily be the extreme cases where there is depression or alcohol abuse, but a lot of them are on this carousel and don’t know what it is they want to do or where they want to go. There’s this chaos in their heads and it’s camouflaged by their inter-county career.”
Antrim boss dismisses Ulster combined talk
Also in the Independent, Antrim chairman Jim Murray has poured cold water on the GPA suggestion for a combined Ulster team to compete in the Liam McCarthy Cup.
A motion was passed at the AGM of the players’ body in Dublin on Friday evening prior to the All Star banquet proposing examination of the “possibility” of an all-Ulster team at some stage in the future.
However, Jim Murray, the Antrim chairman, felt his county “would not be interested” and would be content to go it alone despite their loss in Leinster this season to Westmeath and subsequent hammering by Limerick in the qualifiers.
Murray said he was surprised such a motion was even framed as there had been no prior consultation with the relevant boards.
“I can’t speak for any other Ulster county but as regards ourselves I wouldn’t see us discussing this for too long. Our aim is to try and improve Antrim hurling. I don’t honestly see how this move could achieve this. I’d have thought there are other problems first for a players’ body to deal with.”
Dawson’s door wide open
Following an interview with new Antrim football manager Frank Dawson, the Irish News today report that the possibility remains for a return to the Saffron fold for St Gall’s duo Sean Kelly and Andy McClean.
Dawson said “The door will be open to everybody. I’m aware of some players over the last couple of years who would have absented themselves for one reason or another.
“Sean Kelly isn’t on his own. There are others. Andy McClean is another player… I don’t know why that was nor am I interested. I’ve been detached from Antrim football for long enough to be able to have a very fresh look at it.
Now we’re the last people to ever be smug about anything, but we would like to remind loyal readers of this little extract from Dawson’s interview with Gaelic Life way back on October 11, just days after his appointment to the Antrim role…
‘In terms of what personnel will be lining out in the Saffron shirts next season, Dawson revealed that he would hope to see a few returning faces to the Antrim fold. That could open the door for the likes of Aodhán Gallagher, Sean Kelly and Paddy Cunningham to play their way into the new boss’s plans.
“I come with no baggage. I know players have opted out for various reasons, but I’m far enough divorced from previous management teams to allow me to have a fresh look at things. Once we do that, and the group decide how they want to move forward, then players will decide at that point whether they want to be part of that.
“As manager, the big part of your job is creating an environment which everyone wants to be part of. Of course not everybody will, but the challenge is for you to create a situation where players say ‘Yes, I like where this is going and I want to be part of it.’”