Members of Kilmore GAA Club are set to form a Roscommon Branch of the proposed National Club Player’s Association.
The move as as a result of the Kilmore Intermediate Football Team being forced to play a Connacht Championship game less than 24 hours after winning the county title. A copy of a letter written to the Roscommon GAA and Connacht GAA Boards and the GAA’s Central Council was released yesterday and reads as follows:
RE: Competitions Structures and Player Well Fare (sic)
This letter is penned on behalf of the players, members and supporters of Kilmore GAA. We pen it as committed members of the GAA, who love the Association and everything it represents, in particular the cultural, recreational and community values it brings not alone to our island but to the broader GAA community across the world. Our GAA club is the very heart of our parish.
We are appalled at the downward spiral within which club fixtures have existed over recent years. We have reached a point where our club is no longer prepared to accept competitions structures that gives no certainty or regularity to club games and exposes club players to unjustified and unwarranted physical and mental demands.
This matter was brought to a head by our recent success in the Roscommon IFC final. We drew and replayed the Co Final and eventually emerged successful after extra time. We were then forced to play a Connacht Quarter Final the following day in utterly unacceptable circumstances.
We left the dressing room in Strokestown at 4.30pm on October 22nd and took the field for a warm up 19.5 hours later in Tuam with players who were physical and mental wrecks from the day before. Can anybody with a single functioning brain cell justify this. It proves that the spin we hear about the physical and mental well fare of players and the importance of club games is nothing more than that; SPIN.
We are also deeply disappointed that the Connacht Council refused our request to postpone the game due to the death of our Honorary President Frank Dennehy. At the time of his death Frank was Roscommon GAA President, President and an Honorary member of our club, served Roscommon GAA in many capacities including Co Secretary, managed teams from our club to four Co Titles and was an iconic figure in Kilmore and Roscommon. We heard of his passing as we boarded the bus for Tuam and contacted John Prenty the Connacht Secretary requesting a postponement; yet the Connacht Council said no. Shame on them.
The crises in club fixtures has come about through piecemeal decisions made at county, provincial and national level over many decades. There was never a clearly defined national strategy aimed at serving the needs of players at both club and inter co levels. The result of this is that club games have been pushed to the edges, submerged by the overriding demands of inter co activity.
Club games have been marginalized; Co CCCC’s have been forced to squeeze them into ever tighter schedules; club players have been exposed to unjustified, unmerited and unacceptable physical and mental pressures.
Because of this Kilmore GAA is no longer prepared to allow this utterly unacceptable situation to continue. We have decided to form the first local branch of a National Club Player’s Association that we know will be formed soon.
We do not intend to be a confrontational group unless that becomes unavoidable. We simply want to work towards competitions structures that will give club games and club players the status and respect they deserve.
Our strategy will be based on our belief that the club is the basic unit of the GAA from which everything else springs; inter county players, administrators and supporters. Arising from this reality it follows that club games and players must receive priority status. Club competitions structures must be put in place first and everything else must be made fit around that rather than the other way around as is the case at present.
Our mission now is to pursue that strategy relentlessly. We will not rest until that goal is achieved, a goal that will see the GAA club, its’ players and its games receive the status they deserve.
Tommie Kenoy, Club Chairman.
Jamie Sharkey, Club Secretary.
There has been no public response from GAA authorities since the publication of the letter.