I like reading McGuinness mostly and he makes more sense than most a lot of the time. But there are usually a couple of things I take issue with and this article is no different ……
Is it fair that one team gets €4 million in sponsorship? Of course it is not. If you want to retain hope and faith, the structure must be looked at. But rather than criticise Dublin, the GAA should take its lead from what Dublin have done and replicate that across the country.
The GAA should sell the sponsorship rights in each county and the money should be pooled. All players and teams contribute to the All-Ireland so a certain percentage of the gate receipts should be redistributed to allow a better national coaching infrastructure. If, that is, the GAA is genuinely an amateur organisation which believes in fairness and in the equality of each county? All pigs are equal. Or are some pigs more equal than others?
I agree with Jim that the GAA should take its lead from what Dublin has done – but not in getting sponsorship – rather in getting our underage and coaching structures right – and with meaningful games from a very early age. This is the big reason Dublin are in the position they are now – not money. It is getting very tiring hearing people blaming everything on Dublin’s ‘wealth’ when they have done nothing in their own county to better their coaching and underage structures. I have been closely involved with underage in a near neighbouring county to Dublin – and supposed sleeping giant – and the underage set up is atrocious – a joke. And no sign of any improvement either. Only one county has ever contacted the DCB to ask about their strategy, planning etc. Nobody has ever rang the guy who organises thousands of underage games in both codes every year and asked for a few pointers. Throwing more funding at most of these counties who do not have basis structures or templates would be a waste of time and money.
I would also like to know where Jim plucked the €4m figure from – and is it an annual figure? Will Jim call on Donegal to put all their ‘private’ funding into this sponsorship pot – or is that money different? Will Kerry put the €1m they can raise in the US in the pot? Wouldn’t it be good to see this money going to coaching at grass roots level in their counties rather than warm weather training or week long training camps in posh hotels? Don’t you agree Jim?
There is plenty of money in the GAA for coaching but most counties don’t even have the most basic plan in place or indeed any kind of structure. So instead of crying about the big bad Dubs and all their money why not pick up the phone and ring someone like John Costello? I’m sure he’d be only too happy to share ideas and outline the work and massive volunteer effort that goes in at grassroots level.
So are the teams trying to beat Dublin this summer going to to do the smart thing that is required to actually beat Dublin?
Give Dublin the respect they deserve; fine-tune a very, very detailed game plan based on what Dublin are about. Then bring your strengths. Be cognisant of the fact that Dublin have six top quality forwards; that Stephen Cluxton brings what he brings; that they have a sweeper system. So what is the best way to get around that? You can’t just go in with a vague notion that you are good enough to beat this team. You need a game plan to get around Cian O’Sullivan.
The way I see it the easiest way to deal with the ‘sweeper system’ and the Beckenbauer role of Cian O’Sullivan is to play six forwards. IMO Cian has been ‘allowed’ play a sweeper role in most games because opposition managers have withdrawn at least one forward. If some team decides to go 6 forwards then I am sure we would play it man on man. That is why I do not believe that Cian is a sweeper – nor do we play a sweeper system – in the true sense of it. We do it because we are allowed by the teams that play us – and we do it very well.