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Joe Brolly in the Independent today

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An interesting piece from Brolly in the Independent today. Mainly about club v county.

http://www.independent.ie/sport/columnists/joe-brolly/joe-brolly-the-current-era-is-the-most-depressing-in-the-history-of-the-gaa-35424042.html

Here's the gist of it:


Gilroy's [Pat] blueprint started with a master fixtures list. He always cites the example of New Zealand rugby league. Faced with a chaotic schedule and the inevitable tug of war between clubs and provinces, they solved the problem with a master fixtures list that laid down set fixtures for every level of the game.


He proposed to put in place a master fixtures list throughout the GAA that would have every age group, club and county playing at the same times. Burn-out would be eradicated in that 18-22 age group which is currently being murdered, and players at every level would have a set, unchanging fixture list, imposed from the top.

His blueprint was to make county football representational again. Players would be released by their clubs, not the other way around. The system would be modelled on international soccer, where in June and July every year we would have a county championship that would be "a festival of football". Like the World Cup, only every year, and running for two months.


The thinking behind this was to restore the central importance of the clubs and prevent the unchecked elitism that was already threatening us. And to have a hugely attractive county tournament run off in a sensible time frame.

Under his plan, the subsidiary competitions would be abolished (FBD, O'Byrne Cup, McKenna Cup, etc). Players would be exclusively with their clubs in January and February. From March onwards, they would be released to the county team only on the week of National League games (like international soccer) which would be played-off by the end of May, with no semi-finals or finals.

Those leagues would determine which tier your county would participate in come championship time. The championship would be played-off in a few months and, by the end of July, the county season was over. The clubs would have August and September to themselves to play their championship. Then there would be a proper three-month off season.

Cockney_Cat (UK) - 05/02/2017 18:00:39    1952209

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Good idea, I agree with scrapping the subsidiary competitions, and completing the championships much earlier than at present.
Much as I would love to see the current system changed, and more importance placed on the club player, It is difficult to see any radical change at present, because the current system suits the stronger counties.
Changes to the championships would require a two third majority at Congress, a big stumbling block in the past to any radical changes. A simple majority would be enough.
The 4 provincial councils are a problem, as they each use different methods to complete their games.
I think the Connacht and Munster football finals should be played in June, rather than July.
If the leagues were used to determine championship places counties in divisions 3 and 4 of the football leagues would be in a subsidiary competition.

It seems there is a mood for change among the Gaa followers,and an improvement on the present system is to be welcomed.

If this idea is for football, where does it leave hurling, as there are a few dual counties.

Both hurling and football All Ireland finals should be played by August, within a tighter time frame.
Gaa DG is in favour of this, but it has to get by the minefield of Congress.

thelongridge (Offaly) - 05/02/2017 18:48:54    1952250

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Very good article. It is just a pity that the top brass in the GAA is made up of yes men who are more interested in financial aspects. Unfortunately the guys at the head off our association in CP are more interested in making money and are incapable of sorting out the club v the county.

browncows (Meath) - 05/02/2017 19:30:38    1952288

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Replying To thelongridge:  "Good idea, I agree with scrapping the subsidiary competitions, and completing the championships much earlier than at present.
Much as I would love to see the current system changed, and more importance placed on the club player, It is difficult to see any radical change at present, because the current system suits the stronger counties.
Changes to the championships would require a two third majority at Congress, a big stumbling block in the past to any radical changes. A simple majority would be enough.
The 4 provincial councils are a problem, as they each use different methods to complete their games.
I think the Connacht and Munster football finals should be played in June, rather than July.
If the leagues were used to determine championship places counties in divisions 3 and 4 of the football leagues would be in a subsidiary competition.

It seems there is a mood for change among the Gaa followers,and an improvement on the present system is to be welcomed.

If this idea is for football, where does it leave hurling, as there are a few dual counties.

Both hurling and football All Ireland finals should be played by August, within a tighter time frame.
Gaa DG is in favour of this, but it has to get by the minefield of Congress."
There's always a mood for change in the gaa and in hindsight people usually regret it

gotmilk (Fermanagh) - 05/02/2017 19:32:16    1952293

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Great idea.

keeper7 (Longford) - 05/02/2017 20:25:58    1952335

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The number of games in the League could be cut back drastically to allow more time for club action. If our present Divisions of eight teams were broken into two sections of four teams (A and B say), each team would play three games with the winners of section A playing the B winners to decide on Division champions. The three (or four) games that each county played would give them ample opportunity to get their teams prepared for the c'ship and would, crucially, free up a number of weekends for club action.

neverright (Roscommon) - 05/02/2017 23:28:33    1952497

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I don't think the problem is a lack of weekends, the problem is the big breaks between games. Why can't clubs and counties play every week? The breaks between games are the killers. It's killing interest in the club scene, and is the reason I walked away from my club six years ago as we used to play 4-5 games in March to may and the rest from September on. Nothing infuriated me more than not playing on long summers evening. The assertion that the GAA are only interested in making mulah is correct, but they're so bad at it, as the could easily make twice as much or more with a champo league rejig. How ironic that Dublin's first league game of 2017 attracted more than their first championship game of 2016.

galwaydublin (Galway) - 06/02/2017 09:26:32    1952553

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Brolly's article doesn't speak for Antrim. Clubs reign supreme here, to the point were county footballers play a club hurling match the night before an AI Championship match and risk getting dropped by doing so. There are bigger turn outs for some club matches than most county matches in Antrim and club rivalries cause certain players to opt of the county panel if the other crowd have joined up for the year. If anything the balance is too far over on the club side of things.

Also, its not the GAA's fault that a generation of youngsters have had to move abroad for work that Ireland can't provide them with. Drawing up comparisons with the 'boom' years regarding attendances is hardly a telling stat either.

I do agree with condensing fixtures though. AI championships should be finished up by August at the latest. September to December should be club championship season, making teams wait nearly four months to play the AI club final is ridiculous.

SaffronDon (Antrim) - 06/02/2017 17:38:30    1952901

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Pat Spillane said last night there should be more county games not less...

keeper7 (Longford) - 06/02/2017 17:40:31    1952902

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I'd be far from Brolly's biggest fan. That's one of the best articles on GAA I've ever read.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - 06/02/2017 17:57:53    1952910

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Drop out rate in every sport is massive after juvenile level. That's because each juvenile team caters for only 2 years senior teams cater for a spread of ages much greater than 2 years.Joe doesn't provide the drop out rate for other sports so there is no context to this point he makes.

The GAA's problem is that it is too democratic in the way it is organised and it is too focused on cup competitions.It would be very easy to organise club league matches every single week.Club players want matches and county players don't have to play in club league if they are made available fine if not who cares the clubs players will have a match every week to play.

The problems are not unsolvable it's just no-one wants to take the correct step and just organised more club matches.County players don't need to play in club leagues as the league should be about playing matches.

The article isn't that great.A master fixture list has been an idea floating around for a long time it's just people running the GAA don't seem to be willing to implement one.Joe isn't the first person to realise how poorly run the GAA is people are banging on about that constantly.

uibhfhaili1986 (Offaly) - 06/02/2017 18:10:43    1952916

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Replying To Cockney_Cat:  "An interesting piece from Brolly in the Independent today. Mainly about club v county.

http://www.independent.ie/sport/columnists/joe-brolly/joe-brolly-the-current-era-is-the-most-depressing-in-the-history-of-the-gaa-35424042.html

Here's the gist of it:


Gilroy's [Pat
blueprint started with a master fixtures list. He always cites the example of New Zealand rugby league. Faced with a chaotic schedule and the inevitable tug of war between clubs and provinces, they solved the problem with a master fixtures list that laid down set fixtures for every level of the game.


He proposed to put in place a master fixtures list throughout the GAA that would have every age group, club and county playing at the same times. Burn-out would be eradicated in that 18-22 age group which is currently being murdered, and players at every level would have a set, unchanging fixture list, imposed from the top.

His blueprint was to make county football representational again. Players would be released by their clubs, not the other way around. The system would be modelled on international soccer, where in June and July every year we would have a county championship that would be "a festival of football". Like the World Cup, only every year, and running for two months.


The thinking behind this was to restore the central importance of the clubs and prevent the unchecked elitism that was already threatening us. And to have a hugely attractive county tournament run off in a sensible time frame.

Under his plan, the subsidiary competitions would be abolished (FBD, O'Byrne Cup, McKenna Cup, etc). Players would be exclusively with their clubs in January and February. From March onwards, they would be released to the county team only on the week of National League games (like international soccer) which would be played-off by the end of May, with no semi-finals or finals.

Those leagues would determine which tier your county would participate in come championship time. The championship would be played-off in a few months and, by the end of July, the county season was over. The clubs would have August and September to themselves to play their championship. Then there would be a proper three-month off season."]Load of rubbish, it's the clubs and county boards fault. Blame county teams manager/ season all you like. Majority of county boards ( I including my own) couldn't organise the proverbial in a brewery.

royaldunne (Meath) - 06/02/2017 19:02:22    1952943

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I agree that it is a great idea. Putting it into practice will not be easy, it will in fact be impossible. The reason is money. Not alone from what the GAA stand to lose on gates, but on sponsors and what they would stand to lose on exposure. It is no longer an amateur game at all. I think that we could well have been at the point of no return for quite a while now.

Donegalman (None) - 06/02/2017 19:24:31    1952953

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Replying To SaffronDon:  "Brolly's article doesn't speak for Antrim. Clubs reign supreme here, to the point were county footballers play a club hurling match the night before an AI Championship match and risk getting dropped by doing so. There are bigger turn outs for some club matches than most county matches in Antrim and club rivalries cause certain players to opt of the county panel if the other crowd have joined up for the year. If anything the balance is too far over on the club side of things.

Also, its not the GAA's fault that a generation of youngsters have had to move abroad for work that Ireland can't provide them with. Drawing up comparisons with the 'boom' years regarding attendances is hardly a telling stat either.

I do agree with condensing fixtures though. AI championships should be finished up by August at the latest. September to December should be club championship season, making teams wait nearly four months to play the AI club final is ridiculous."
To be fair to Antrim county board they do a very good job of providing fixtures.

In Football teams will play 16 league games. Have a knockout championship with another regional cup competition.

Games don't start until March either and get played off quickly with a league fixture list provided at the start of the season. It doesn't get fully adhered to but it's pretty good.

Hurling teams have All county and divisional leagues and championship. Again loads of matches.

A dual player from say Dunloy could have a number of games a week but sure isn't that much better than a tonne of training.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - 06/02/2017 19:42:59    1952963

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Fantastic piece by Brolly only just got around to reading it in full , funny if he had said one of his more outrageous statements we would probably be up to 100 odd replies

Damothedub (Dublin) - 09/02/2017 11:01:36    1953915

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Replying To royaldunne:  "
Replying To Cockney_Cat:  "An interesting piece from Brolly in the Independent today. Mainly about club v county.

http://www.independent.ie/sport/columnists/joe-brolly/joe-brolly-the-current-era-is-the-most-depressing-in-the-history-of-the-gaa-35424042.html

Here's the gist of it:


Gilroy's [Pat
blueprint started with a master fixtures list. He always cites the example of New Zealand rugby league. Faced with a chaotic schedule and the inevitable tug of war between clubs and provinces, they solved the problem with a master fixtures list that laid down set fixtures for every level of the game.


He proposed to put in place a master fixtures list throughout the GAA that would have every age group, club and county playing at the same times. Burn-out would be eradicated in that 18-22 age group which is currently being murdered, and players at every level would have a set, unchanging fixture list, imposed from the top.

His blueprint was to make county football representational again. Players would be released by their clubs, not the other way around. The system would be modelled on international soccer, where in June and July every year we would have a county championship that would be "a festival of football". Like the World Cup, only every year, and running for two months.


The thinking behind this was to restore the central importance of the clubs and prevent the unchecked elitism that was already threatening us. And to have a hugely attractive county tournament run off in a sensible time frame.

Under his plan, the subsidiary competitions would be abolished (FBD, O'Byrne Cup, McKenna Cup, etc). Players would be exclusively with their clubs in January and February. From March onwards, they would be released to the county team only on the week of National League games (like international soccer) which would be played-off by the end of May, with no semi-finals or finals.

Those leagues would determine which tier your county would participate in come championship time. The championship would be played-off in a few months and, by the end of July, the county season was over. The clubs would have August and September to themselves to play their championship. Then there would be a proper three-month off season."
Load of rubbish, it's the clubs and county boards fault. Blame county teams manager/ season all you like. Majority of county boards ( I including my own) couldn't organise the proverbial in a brewery."]I agree royaldunne, much of the problems lie with the County boards themselves. It's their own inability to come up with a master fixtures list that causes problems within counties. How is it for example that many counties who are knocked out early in the championship cannot run their own internal championships and/or leagues off in a timely manner.

lilywhite1 (Kildare) - 09/02/2017 16:11:03    1954058

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Replying To lilywhite1:  "
Replying To royaldunne:  "[quote=Cockney_Cat:  "An interesting piece from Brolly in the Independent today. Mainly about club v county.

http://www.independent.ie/sport/columnists/joe-brolly/joe-brolly-the-current-era-is-the-most-depressing-in-the-history-of-the-gaa-35424042.html

Here's the gist of it:


Gilroy's [Pat
blueprint started with a master fixtures list. He always cites the example of New Zealand rugby league. Faced with a chaotic schedule and the inevitable tug of war between clubs and provinces, they solved the problem with a master fixtures list that laid down set fixtures for every level of the game.


He proposed to put in place a master fixtures list throughout the GAA that would have every age group, club and county playing at the same times. Burn-out would be eradicated in that 18-22 age group which is currently being murdered, and players at every level would have a set, unchanging fixture list, imposed from the top.

His blueprint was to make county football representational again. Players would be released by their clubs, not the other way around. The system would be modelled on international soccer, where in June and July every year we would have a county championship that would be "a festival of football". Like the World Cup, only every year, and running for two months.


The thinking behind this was to restore the central importance of the clubs and prevent the unchecked elitism that was already threatening us. And to have a hugely attractive county tournament run off in a sensible time frame.

Under his plan, the subsidiary competitions would be abolished (FBD, O'Byrne Cup, McKenna Cup, etc). Players would be exclusively with their clubs in January and February. From March onwards, they would be released to the county team only on the week of National League games (like international soccer) which would be played-off by the end of May, with no semi-finals or finals.

Those leagues would determine which tier your county would participate in come championship time. The championship would be played-off in a few months and, by the end of July, the county season was over. The clubs would have August and September to themselves to play their championship. Then there would be a proper three-month off season."
Load of rubbish, it's the clubs and county boards fault. Blame county teams manager/ season all you like. Majority of county boards ( I including my own) couldn't organise the proverbial in a brewery."]I agree royaldunne, much of the problems lie with the County boards themselves. It's their own inability to come up with a master fixtures list that causes problems within counties. How is it for example that many counties who are knocked out early in the championship cannot run their own internal championships and/or leagues off in a timely manner."]Meath County board is actually decent and improving all the time.

You'll get minimum 13 league games, 5 championship group games with county players and another cup competition.

Reserves leagues are competitive in the most part.

This season they have a master fixtures list up to August with the first 3 rounds of championship marked. Championship will not be held up until the county team exits the All Ireland. After August the fixtures are dependent on Meath's progress.

I can't really expect much more.

Last season the championship was slow to be completed despite Meath being out early. A bit annoying but at the same time the Leinster club wasn't going.

As for Brolly's article I don't think Gilroy's way is the only way to do things but I think it would have worked really well too

Whammo86 (Antrim) - 09/02/2017 17:22:06    1954086

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Wow from yesterday's Sindo, Brolly sends up Gooch:

Kerry has long been the main supplier of dull GAA autobiographies, and this one is no exception. There are a lot of stories I could tell but yerra, it might not go down too well with my sponsors. As Michael Healy-Rae said to me when he was asking if he could get a complimentary copy, "sure Gooch, you can keep the stories for the second volume."
To be honest, writing it was nearly as easy as playing against bad Mayo and Cork teams in Croke Park. Some lad whose name escapes me came up from Dublin and took a few notes as I was going about my day's work, taking calls from sponsors and my agent. I liked him all right, as he remembered the day I scored 1-4 against Mayo and said he'd never seen the like of it.
Yerra, that team I played on was the greatest ever team against Mayo and Cork. In 2002 and 2003, none of the lads could believe it when Armagh and Tyrone had the cheek to tackle Gooch in Croke Park. Páidí said in the dressing room at half-time he had never seen the like of it, and it wouldn't have happened in his day. The next year all that was forgotten when we played Mayo and no one marked Gooch at all. All the lads wrote their autobiographies after that one.

Yerra, there were some great stories all right. Galvo rang me on the day of one of those finals against Mayo and said, "It's time to get up Gooch." "What time is it Galvo?" "It's ten past three Gooch," he said and he pissing himself. I jumped in a car, and in the dash from the hotel put the gear on in the car, sponsored by Kerry Group, who I greatly admire. It was perfect timing as I was able to write it all down in my diary on the way in to the park. I walked out on the field and as soon as I saw who was at left corner back all the nerves left me. Thank f*** it isn't one of those Tyrone lads, I said to myself. Me and Star were winking at each other and trying not to laugh. That day I cemented my reputation as the greatest player of all time against bad teams.
On the Monday, we were below in a pub in Killarney and the bold Darragh told us a hilarious one. Didn't Clint Eastwood and Harrison Ford walk in on the Saturday and interrupt the Bomber in the middle of a song. The Bomber didn't have one clue who they were. Well, Darragh came back from the toilet to see Bomber with the two boyos in a stranglehold, one under each arm, and they roaring for help. Jaysus, it was pure Bomber. We had a great laugh. I made a note of the whole thing in the diary I keep for the second volume of the memoirs.

Michael Healy-Rae has taken me under his wing and is going to show me how to make serious money, though I am hoping I don't have to go to as many funerals as he does. He says never mind that fella Brolly, he's only a begrudger.
Michael is unbelievable! He has a sponsored car and he doesn't even play for Kerry. He was on Living With Lucy last week and although some begrudgers said it was the most embarrassing thing they ever saw, Michael had the last laugh when he trousered six grand for it.

My role model would be Pele. He wasn't a bad player, but as Michael said to me, "Yerra, he never scored 1-5 against Cork in Croke Park". I know he became a laughing stock in Brazil and around the world because they said he would crawl over crushed glass for a pound, but by God he stuck to his principles. He has done ads for Subway, Pepsi, Colostomy Bags, MMA, and even Viagra. I watched the Viagra ad and he says, "I don't need Viagra, but I would use it if I ever did." Hilarious. He also brought out an album called 'The King', something which is on my list of things to do.
When I went on The Late Late Show it was great publicity altogether. I know Tubs wrote once that Terry Wogan was the greatest living Irishman but that was before I scored 1-5 against the small Mayo lad whose name escapes me.

TheUsername (Dublin) - 17/10/2017 20:41:56    2055860

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My role model would be Pele. He wasn't a bad player, but as Michael said to me, "Yerra, he never scored 1-5 against Cork in Croke Park". I know he became a laughing stock in Brazil and around the world because they said he would crawl over crushed glass for a pound, but by God he stuck to his principles. He has done ads for Subway, Pepsi, Colostomy Bags, MMA, and even Viagra. I watched the Viagra ad and he says, "I don't need Viagra, but I would use it if I ever did." Hilarious. He also brought out an album called 'The King', something which is on my list of things to do.
When I went on The Late Late Show it was great publicity altogether. I know Tubs wrote once that Terry Wogan was the greatest living Irishman but that was before I scored 1-5 against the small Mayo lad whose name escapes me.

In fairness, Tubs is one of my favourite GAA people. When I said that that fella Brolly (who I think might have played football for somebody or other, and whose first name escapes me) had apologised to me about his outrageous remarks on my testimonial (sponsored by AIB, Zurich International, Brut for men, O2, Colostomy Bags (Ireland) Ltd, Cadburys and 15 others), it was a classic bit of cute hoorism. My favourite line was, "so he's obviously changed his tune". Between ourselves he didn't apologise to me at all for what he had said, but sure it was only a wee Kerry white one and the sponsors of Gooch loved it.


Announcing for the first time that a bit of the proceeds were going to Kerry and Dr Crokes was another cute move and the audience, who cheered everything I said, gave that a great clap altogether.

I rang Michael afterwards and we were pissing ourselves. I was sitting in the Green Room at the time, explaining to Tubs that it was three points for a goal, not five, and Healy-Rae in my other ear asking me if I'd open his new post office.

As I said to Tubs in the Green Room before I left in my car, courtesy of Killarney Audi, the choice of the driving connoisseur, these lads taking underage teams and lining pitches and ferrying car-loads to matches and all the rest is all very well, but it's not putting bums on seats in Croke Park.

Anyhow, with the first testimonial almost upon me (and a nice tax-free €200,000), my sponsors and I are already looking forward to the second one. The testimonial that is, not the memoirs, hahahahahahaha.

TheUsername (Dublin) - 17/10/2017 20:45:39    2055861

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The article is articulate, sensible full of interesting ideas, but of course doomed to failure. The Provincial championships need to be consigned to history they are in the way of creating meaningful modern competition - the Railway cups were sacred but were are they now and so on. You cannot have an attractive vibrant sport if its played in intensive wedges between long gaps of inactivity you simply cannot. This is not good for club or county or developing a premier sporting tournament. A master fixtures plan!! now there is a novel idea where did I hear this before? Players are fed up of sitting around for 5/6 weeks with endless training and no games. Now we have the provincials, the super eights and just sod it, couldn't care less really football can eat itself.

arock (Dublin) - 17/10/2017 22:15:23    2055884

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