The development of GAA franchises, the lazy analysis on RTÉ and the inevitable era of professionalism; Mayo midfielder Aidan O'Shea has gone against the GAA player interview grain with a very honest and open chat at the launch of the All Ireland minor championships yesterday.
O'Shea welcomed the news of Sky's new television deal and predicts that the GAA will go professional – it's just a matter of time. He told the Irish Independent 'It’s going to go there eventually. We all know it.'
However, O'Shea said that by that stage, a 32 county format will not be sustainable and instead thinks smaller teams, who are currently 'pissing into the wind, will join up to form franchises.
It might be 20, 30, 40 years away but that’s the way it has to go. The way our country is set up, the way our population is, you are not going to have 32 teams.
You will probably have franchises, you are probably going to have to split the championship into a different structure.
How is it fair that you have some teams that can't compete? Eventually you can join up a couple of teams and then you have a more competitive environment.
At the moment, you have a few teams that are pissing into the wind every time they go out on the pitch. In my position as a player, I don't like to be saying that about other teams, but that's the reality in the sport at the moment.
Of course, his idea is not one which is new to those a club level, with amalgamations a common occurrence and O'Shea gave the example of All Ireland club hurling finalists Mount Leinster Rangers, who were formed when three clubs in Carlow joined together.
Speaking about the Sky deal, O'Shea said 'The analysis of the game will go to another level. That's what Sky do. It will be a bad game and people will still think it's a good game because Sky will make it so good.'
He also was critical of the current analysis on RTÉ, as the Irish Times report: 'I think RTÉ are lazy, they probably got lazy as it’s been a monopoly for them really and now they are going to have to challenge themselves a bit more in their production and their analysis.'
The Indo also report that he added:
The analysis of the game will go to another level. That's what Sky do. It will be a bad game and people will still think it's a good game because Sky will make it so good
I mean I've never heard a hurling analyst say it was a bad hurling game.
Like Dublin and Wexford played in the hurling championship last year. It was a horrible game, horrible. I didn't hear anyone say it was a horrible game They complimented everyone on their effort, trying to do the right thing.
If that was football, if it was the opposite way around ... worst game ever seen. Jesus Christ, what are we doing? We're handpassing, handpassing, handpassing. It's unbelievable.
We love to talk down Gaelic football, but you'll never see a hurling person talk down their sport.
However, O'Shea's welcoming of the Sky deal did come with a caveat:
We are the only ones on All-Ireland final day who don't get paid. We get around €500 [Sports Council grant] for getting Olympic-style drug tests. That might do you a weekend away in Dublin and that's about it.
Obviously, there are huge perks, don't get me wrong. With the Sky deal the top guys will get some great exposure from it as well, which is brilliant for them, but the split overall, it won't be as beneficial as everyone thinks," said the Breaffy man.
I've been at GPA meetings where I've heard about players from other counties not getting their expenses, not getting what they are supposed to get from a gear point of view.
So, whatever about people saying Gaelic players should be happy getting to wear the jersey, if they are putting in this amount of effort and still not getting 50 cent a mile for travelling to training, that's ridiculous.
So GAA franchises, what do you think of that idea?
hat-tip: Irish Independent and Irish Times