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Dessie Farrell criticises Colm O'Rourke's "ill informed" views on the GPA

Speaking last night, Farrell defended how the GPA have evolved since their inception.

Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the Gaelic Players Association, Dessie Farrell has admitted he was “disappointed” by Colm O’Rourke’s “ill informed” column in The Sunday Independent.

Although he praised much of the work done by the GPA, he suggested that a player’s body shouldn’t be working within the confines of the governing body and accused them of elitism and ignoring club players.

Speaking on Newstalk’s Off the Ball show last night, Dessie Farrell addressed O’Rourke’s criticism and defended how the GPA have evolved since their early days.

“Some of the content of his article was probably ill informed and I think he omitted to convey a lot of the good work that we do within the Players Association,” he said. “That was obviously disappointing and I think the reaction from players would indicate that they weren’t happy with it either.”

“We fought long and hard in a very difficult campaign to be officially recognised by the GAA a number of years ago.

“There’s now a platform there to engage in those discussions and debates. Because that’s not necessarily publicly or under the glare of the spotlight, people seem to think it doesn’t go on.”

Colm O'Rourke Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Farrell was asked about a “strange silence” from the GPA in relation to the scheduling of inter county games on Friday nights and also the All-Ireland semi-final in Limerick earlier this year.

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“I remember us being quite vocal on the Friday night game as well, that was supporting the players and supporting the idea that if Friday night games were to go ahead, which we were in favour of, that the players would have to be recompensed for that.

“In relation to the game in Limerick, this wouldn’t be known because there’s not a necessity for us to engage in megaphone diplomacy which we may have resorted to in the past, we engaged both squads around that issue immediately after the fixture was settled.

“While both players were unhappy, they didn’t want it to be pursued by us because they wanted to get on with the game. It was understandable that they wanted to drop the issue and get on with the game in hand. We respected the wishes of both squads in that instance.”

“If we were to do that again we would probably release a short statement to say that we’re very unhappy with it and the players were very unhappy with it. The important thing here for people to understand is that there is a forum, we do agitate when we need to but we don’t needlessly agitate wither because that’s not very productive.”

Liam O'Neill 25/8/2014 Source: MARK_MAXWELL

Meanwhile, at the launch of the GAA National Club Draw Launch in Croke Park yesterday, Liam O’Neill claimed that the GPA’s close association with the GAA wasn’t an issue.

“They are not inside the camp,” he said. “There is a genuine respect between Paraic Duffy, myself and the full-time people in Croke Park with whom the GPA interact.

“I actually don’t mind criticism, I think criticism is good, if you don’t have people that challenge you, you are never asked to improve. So I don’t mind criticism and I don’t mind people making comments.

“I respect the views of all columnists. The difficulty is that if a columnist goes too far then the value of his criticism diminishes. I think we need honest criticism from both inside the organisation and commentators from outside.”

Players react angrily to Colm O’Rourke’s Gaelic Players Association criticism

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Kevin O'Brien

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