The Gaelic Athletic Association is the very heart and soul of Ireland and in every town/village/parish you are sure to find a pub, church and there’s sure to be a GAA pitch. Both hurling and Gaelic football are the national games and is inbred into every community across the island of Ireland. But why is money coming more and more into the game?
I got no problem with our national games on Sky Sports or other TV channels outside of the Irish ones, in fact I welcome it. When there’s an All-Ireland final in either hurling or Gaelic football you will find #AllIrelandFinal as one of the top trends on twitter in the UK largely due to more eyes watching our national games. And the bigger the audience, the better the opportunities are to find good odds from popular betting sites. The more the merrier, maybe unfair on the local GAA man or woman in Ireland, that might say he/she can’t afford Sky, but if that’s the cost of showcasing our games to a bigger audience so be it. And let’s be honest in a country like Ireland I bet everyone can find a way to get access to the ‘foreign channels’
Where I do have a problem is the ‘elite status’ of different county’s and I disagree with the tiered structure that is being touted by many.
During the Covid crisis and the recent Dublin footballers breach I see a lot of people arguing that GAA players should have ‘elite status‘, rubbish. Unfortunately with GAA players they are working and living in the community so its simply not possible to isolate like our professional rugby players or soccer players in England.
Why the GAA has Lost its way.
When I hear the words ‘elite status’ it doesn’t sit right with me, because I instantly think of Dublin, Kerry, Kilkenny, Cork, Limerick etc… all these counties have big backers and money to compete. Where are the likes of Offaly gone(who were always a great GAA County), Westmeath, Wexford in football, Leitrim, Longford etc…. These counties might have a good team every few years, but will never compete on a constant bases because they don’t have the money to compete.
Solution, If AIG want to sponsor Dublin GAA, Kerry, Group Kerry, Glanbia, Kilkenny, Sports Direct, Cork. They give the money directly to GAA HQ and let the GAA distribute the money to the other counties and of course give Dublin, Kerry, Kilkenny and Cork a nice chunk of it then. A rising tide rises all ships, has the horse already bolted with this? One thing is for sure the gap is getting bigger and bigger and something simply has to be done. Yes it might be due to population changes, but it definitely has something to do with finances and for me in a Community game, ‘game of the parish’ I simply think that’s wrong.