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'The Cork Senior Footballers Are Tucked Away In A Warehouse'

'The Cork Senior Footballers Are Tucked Away In A Warehouse'

The erosion of the GAA's amateur status and the entrenching of a professional attitude is a development bemoaned by many - including regularly by Joe Brolly.

If Brolly wants signs of amateurism still resident within GAA, he need look no further than the setup currently being tolerated by the Cork footballers.

In today's Irish Examiner, Paddy Kelly - who last week announced his retirement from inter-county football to the paper - speaks to Kieran Shannon. The interview includes criticisms of the the Cork county board.

Kelly reveals that his former teammates had to set up a makeshift gym themselves in Fermoy. The footballers have been training on a pitch in Fermoy but there was no gym in the vicinity for strength and conditioning work.

The players set up a temporary gym in a warehouse nearby. They moved in the equipment and painted the building themselves.

Given the facilities which many other counties now have - you really can't imagine this is something which Diarmuid Connolly or David Moran would have to do - Kelly finds fault with the county board.

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You think of the state-of-the-art facilities other counties have developed.

I know Páirc Uí Chaoimh will be ready this summer and it will be fantastic, but still, it’s a main pitch and then an all-weather pitch. Derek Kavanagh wrote an excellent article last year in the Irish Examiner where you should really have eight to ten pitches together, with the county minors and development squads training alongside the senior team, creating a sense that ‘This is Cork.’

Instead you now have a situation where the Cork senior footballers are tucked away in a warehouse in Fermoy.

Kelly also believes that Cork GAA has been lax in its fundraising efforts.

You look at Dublin and all the sponsorship partners they’re able to attract. You look at Kerry and the fundraising efforts they’ve done, going abroad, getting people involved. You look at Club Tyrone. The Tipperary Supporters Club. All these external bodies who are supplementing the county effort. In Cork we don’t have that.

See Also: "Magic"- Shane Williams Made His Gaelic Football 'Debut' In Desperate Conditions In Donegal

PJ Browne
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