When the still fledgling Club Players Association truly find their feet, they will surely give up on the nonsense of fighting the GAA for scraps like "official recognition" and look to a place where they can get some real action. They will take the most direct route to the hearts and minds of Irish people - Hollywood. When "Out in the Cold - The Literal and Metaphorical Plight of the GAA Club Player".
Ok, maybe the title needs work.
In worldwide blockbuster to be, the role of the Machiavellian inter-county manager is rumoured to be played by Richard E. Grant at his slimy best. The ruthless villain of the movie, determined to make sure, at all costs, the simple club player, doesn't get a game from May to September. A scurrilous individual.
That's basically the narrative of the GAA at the moment. The county team has all the power and the manager is only interested in his own team and not the good of the GAA as a whole. One inter-county manager certainly wouldn't agree with this portrait of GAA life.
Derry manager Damien Barton has hit out at clubs in the county just two weeks before their opening game of the Ulster Championship saying that certain clubs have left his team "handicapped".
Speaking to The Derry Post ahead of the Ulster quarter-final against arch enemies Tyrone on May 28th, Barton claims that clubs are scheming against him by urging fringe squad players to concentrate on the club game and suggesting they are wasting their time trying to break into the team.
Their (the club's) attitudes will be ‘well I told you you weren’t going to get on in the Tyrone game, you need to be playing with us’
I’m going into a dressing room this evening and there will be guys who have been told by their clubs ‘you tell Barton that you’re playing for your club this weekend’ and that’s my preparations, I’m sitting here with a squad not as big as Tyrone, not as big as Donegal
It's certainly an attitude and a dispute which goes against what we are used to hearing about the preparations of intercounty teams, and is something Barton admits isn't the case in other counties, where a manager generally has total control over county players, often to the detriment of the club game.
I spoke to a manager on another county side, and his players haven’t played for their clubs in two weeks, and they don’t play until June.
Barton went on to say that Derry’s success at club level has also been a negative for the county as their success in Ulster and nationally has ‘handicapped’ his team.
We’ve been handicapped by the fact that we have a very successful club scene, and any club that has come out and represented the county in Ulster has done quite well. A Derry team versus a Monaghan team? I wouldn’t back against them, or versus a Tyrone team at club level, I wouldn’t bet against them and that says quite a bit.
The crossover of fixtures between club and county is the hot topic of the day for the GAA, but we rarely hear complaints like this from the other side. It seems the redefinition of the calendar is something that would be as welcomed by some county managers as by club players.
I’m delighted to hear that they’re doing something positive, they’re going to separate the club and county fixture list and I think they have to do that.
Somehow, we don't think that "Out in the Cold - The Literal and Metaphorical Plight of the GAA Club Player" will be set in Derry. Maybe Dublin?