Category: Archive

Cork rebels again

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

It’s difficult not to see the glaring contrasts in the present day Gaelic Athletic Association, what with packed stadiums, a space age-looking Croke Park and corporate sponsorship on a par with soccer and rugby. And yet, players contend, they must turn out in all weather to train for a pittance or less and worry about whether or not the showers will be hot.
This is the stuff of the good old days when men were men and several spectators and a dog might be expected to turn out in a gale to watch the pursuit of a win or stoic acceptance of a gallant defeat, whatever the sporting gods had in mind on the particular day.
But sport, like all other aspects of contemporary life, is now a high intensity exercise where the pre-game input is based entirely on the imperative of winning.
In Irish sports, there are few more pressurized cauldrons than the game of hurling as it is played in Cork, a county that generally commands superpower status in the GAA world.
The players currently representing the county are expected to put their lives on virtual hold in pursuit of Munster and All-Ireland titles. In many cases, the players not only fail to secure a financial reward for their efforts, skill and services, but actually incur expenses out of their own pockets.
The striking players are not asking for pay to play. What they do want are the kind of facilities and expenses that match their input during a season that really now runs through the entire year.
Their demands are minimal and should be met. And whatever improvements they secure should be applied to hurlers and footballers in other counties.
Clearly, the demands on players can vary from county to county, but there is little doubt that being an intercounty player of any stripe these days is to come into shoulder contact with professionalism in all but name.

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