A frequent point of information raised in any discussion about the success of the Dublin senior football team is the huge resources invested into developing GAA in the capital. Just after they claimed the All-Ireland title last year it was revealed that the county had received 47% of all development funding from the GAA, including €274.70 per player. As our own Conor Neville pointed out around the time this was revealed, Fermanagh were the next most generously funded county with €68.17 per player. The GAA have said that they will address this issue, Director General Pauric Duffy saying that the GAA "will try to grow the other counties" and that there will be "a modest kind of re-calibration" of the GAA's funding structure in 2017.
Nevertheless, there still exists - and, with the great sponsorship opportunities in the capital the Dubs represent, will continue to exist - an undeniable disparity between the resources available to Dublin and everyone else. This isn't anti-Dublin bias. It's just fact. Dublin GAA's twelve official sponsors include Aer Lingus, Energise Sport and Subaru.
Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh has alluded to this in an interesting interview with Paul Keane of The Irish News on Wednesday. Cavanagh recently took the mickey out of his own (presumed) lack of sponsored wheels in comparison with Dublin, whose players will benefit from the deal with Subaru by each receiving a car as well as the hurling and football teams each getting a van to transport their kit around the country for games.
Cavanagh told Keane:
There are times that you're slightly jealous of the likes of the Dublins...I think everyone looks at Dublin and raises an eyebrow when you see them with their cars and whatever else.
And - quite tellingly - Cavanagh said that at times the Red Hands are forced to dip into their own pockets in order to obtain the best for themselves and their performances:
Like anything, you'd like that wee bit more, to get the best nutrition or the best whatever.
But the guys are equally willing, if the county's not spending it on us, the guys will spend on themselves. They don't really cause that much of a fuss about it.
Cavanagh isn't being hysterical or feeling sorry for himself - he is just making an honest observation - and neither is he taking a 'dig' at Dublin. But it is nevertheless quite an insight into the mindset of counties outside of Dublin. Clearly the disparity between the Dubs and the rest of the country is something players are keenly aware of.
Does it dishearten them, fire them up, or not bother them at all? That is the million dollar question.
The whole interview is very good, discussing among other things how Cavanagh at 33 still has huge love for the game and how a county like Tyrone (with an ultra-competitive club scene) manages to maintain a close-knit county side. Make sure you give it a read here.