Category: Archive

Editorial: Croke Park arrogance

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

In a remarkable example of official arrogance, Ireland’s GAA unilaterally ruled last week that Irish players could no longer travel to the U.S. to play for teams here. The ruling, announced by the GAA president, Sean McCague, covered weekend authorization, 60-day sanctions and transfers. It effectively shut off the pipeline through which many teams in New York and throughout the country bolster their panels in the run-in for their playoffs.

The Echo has never made a secret of its dislike for the weekend-ringer system. It favors wealthier clubs and often sidelines loyal local talent in favor of mercenaries just when the games matter most. But the system is something of an institution here, and, besides, that is not the issue at hand. Rather, it is that it is difficult to respect an organization that makes so dramatic and wide-ranging a ruling without first discussing it with the parties that will be most affected.

The New York GAA is rightly proud of the work it has done over the years to gain the good graces of Croke Park. But now one wonders if it was worth it. Clearly, McCague and Co., by their actions last week, are not yet ready to allow the exile organizations, in New York and the North American County Board, a seat at the table.

There may be good reasons why McCague made the decision he did, but to this point he has done one lousy job of explaining himself. Meanwhile, clubs have paid dearly by buying plane tickets that went unused last weekend. To this point, New York has done all the right things to gain a foothold in Irish GAA circles. It deserved better than a backhand from Croke Park.

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