DEREK KAVANAGH FINALLY became an All-Ireland senior football winner at 30 but retired shortly after, an example of a player struck down through injury by a system that encourages training over playing games.
Two years later, he was done with club football with Nemo Rangers as he needed a hip replacement.
Slipping into a club coaching role afterwards was designed to keep him involved in Gaelic football but the maddening and frustrating struggles of preparing a club team, soon began to grate.
He’s to the forefront of the newly-formed Club Players Association that are trying to find a solution to the problem and has issued a stark warning of the current state of club GAA.
“The whole energy of the game is dropping and falling away and it’s just sad to see.”
His own county Cork is an example of one faces the headache of accommodating dual players yet Kavanagh feels that can’t deflect from the problem created by the absence of a reliable fixture list.
“The end result is players are walking away in their masses and it’s damaging the game.”
He’s attempted to make headway on the issue before by tabling a motion – that got passed at the Cork GAA Convention – to bring forward the date of the All-Ireland finals, to free up more room for club fixtures.
The motion was shot down subsequently at GAA Congress yet he’s confident that the new group can help support future club motions designed to help the problem.
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