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GAA Discussion / Breheny's Big Ideas
« on: May 01, 2019, 10:27:14 AM »

Any merit in this?
Derry wans won't be happy!

Breheny is constantly chipping away at this and I find it a bit annoying. He has a strong point about the fairness of the Munster teams winning 2 games to make the Super 8s.  Even worse is the notion that a Munster losing finalist can play 3 games and lose one to make the Super 8s. 

His main problem is that the solution doesn't address the fact that the spread in quality among teams ranked 1 - 20 is much greater than the spread from 5 - 30.

Nonetheless, it might work, but I can't imagine getting anyone in Armagh too excited about round robin championship matches with Roscommon, Kildare and Laois (ugghh).

GAA Discussion / Half Parishes
« on: December 09, 2018, 10:13:21 PM »
Congrats to Mullinalaghta - big day for the little guy!!

Not the first half-parish to win provincial honours.  Can you name the others?

GAA Discussion / New Championship Format
« on: August 22, 2018, 11:39:28 AM »
Interested in your views on this.  You can choose 2 options.

Should have said - I think going back to the old system - pre 2001 and enhancing the league programme would be very attractive.  Shorter, more condensed championship, purely knock-out, would help restore the appeal and do or die nature that we all loved. 

Meanwhile, the league has been gaining in relevance in recent years and an enhanced programme of fixtures (say 3 divisions of 9 or 10 would ensure more games for the weaker counties) with the top 2 teams in Division 1 playing for the league title. 

Fewer championship games might mean less income for the GAA  - (although it could be offset by more league fixtures ) and it would have to cut its cloth accordingly - fewer employees might not be a bad thing. 

GAA Discussion / The Paudie O'Se Cup
« on: July 23, 2018, 11:28:20 AM »
Brolly on the Sunday game last night talking about how Armagh and Roscommon game should have been the final of the second tier competition and that Roscommon don't belong in the race for Sam.

This debate has gained obvious traction and I'd be concerned about where it will end up:

How would we decide who should be in the so-called Super 8s if we moved to this new tiered format. If teams like Roscommon don't belong with the big boys then where do you draw the line.  Kildare were beaten in every game this year in Division 1 this year.  Should they be there. They were beaten by Carlow in their first round of Leinster, but they have went on to be on of the stories of the championship.   What about Cavan, who gave Tyrone a good game this year and like Roscommon have just been promoted to Div 1, having been relegated last year.  What about Meath who nearly knocked out Tyrone this year and have been slumbering in Division 2? 

I am fascinated by the ongoing club versus county debate that has developed into the greatest faultline in the GAA.  We have had the emergence of the CPA to highlight (rightly) how club football is disadvantaged by the county scene, with championship fixtures in successful counties condensed into a short window either in the early autumn and possibly the spring time.  We have pundits regularly ridiculing the "crazy" training regimes of inter-county teams and the seeming relentless drive towards professionalism and elitism.  The comparison is often made with the club, the lifeblood of the GAA, which is seen as a paragon of virtue. 

I would agree with a lot of what is said on this topic, but is it not time we took a more critical look at what is going on at club level?  How many clubs can you name in your own area that don't engage an outside manager / coach or both? Very few I imagine and I'd wager a good number are being paid. 

There is a cost to all of this beyond the invoice at the end of the month!  A paid coach needs to demonstrate success, so will demand more from the players.  Yes, a more structured training environment is certainly desirable; but many of these paid 'coaches' are complete charlatans.  How many are in it for the right reasons and prioritise the welfare of the player instead of their own bank balance (more training sessions means a bigger weekly fee) or reputation? Does paying a coach guarantee success? No, of course not - only one team can win any competition in a given year. This is a zero sum game and a rat race.

Moreover, it is worth looking at the cost of running club teams generally.  How much money is being spent by clubs on outside gyms and winter training facilities.  Consider the cost of physios to GAA clubs.  Do clubs need a physio at every game, when most physio work is either involved in rehab or prevention. 

And then you ask the question, where does this money come from?  It comes out of the community, through fundraising, selling tickets and running events.  It certainly isn't funded and cannot be justified by gate receipts at games for the vast majority of teams.  What's the opportunity cost of this expenditure?  Could it be spent better at underage level? Could it be spent better on facilities?  Is it all needed and could we do with less?

The bottom line is that the GAA needs to look very very carefully at this and stop ignoring it.  The GAA is probably one of, it not the most successful fundraising organisations in Ireland.  There is now a not inconsiderable cottage industry that exists based on the "GAA club market" which helps clubs spend this money. The greatest cost to all of this is the very slow and creeping loss of the volunteer ethos in clubs. During the Celtic Tiger era, there was a view that the answer was to throw money at the club, rather than look for a volunteer solution.  That has been with us ever since.  Instead of this notion of "Club Good County Bad", maybe its time the focus shifted back to looking at this issue which is prevalent throughout the GAA.


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