The eternal question for GAA in Ireland. How do you stop players from spending their summers in America? The draw is obvious, their friends will be over there, the summer is the only time to go, and GAA clubs are enticing them with help to get a job and accommodation.
Players from the smaller counties especially are frequently contacted from teams in America who give them an out should they lose. It's something that Sligo manager Niall Carew wants changed - for the sake of inter-county and club GAA.
Speaking to the Sligo Champion, Carew outlined what he wants changed in the rules to help keep some of the players in the country for the summer:
I’m sure you have heard about five of our players heading to the States a few days after our defeat against Clare.
We have five or more students that receive either a text or a call from GAA teams in America two days before we play Clare stating ‘If you lose we will fly you out to say New York or wherever and offer you great expenses, accommodation, work etc.’ So what do you do? You try to put this to the back of your head and concentrate on the game ahead. Subconsciously you have an out. You can’t blame the GAA in America either. You can only blame the men at the top who allow this to happen year-in, year-out.
Carew wants the GAA to rule that any player in an inter-county panel will be ruled ineligible for any GAA in America. It's quite a drastic rule, and there are some players who would want to go over to America anyway. But you can see his frustration, and why Carew would want something like this.
I don’t think this is unreasonable. You are protecting the clubs first and foremost and then the county teams and it is in that order.
Would it work? Is it reasonable?
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Photo by Piaras O Midheach/Sportsfile