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'I think it’s a load of nonsense' - Waterford boss hits out at GAA ban on training camps

Paraic Fanning is not happy with the GAA’s plans to clamp down on camps from next year.

Waterford hurling manager Padraic Fanning after last month's league final.
Waterford hurling manager Padraic Fanning after last month's league final.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

WATERFORD HURLING MANAGER Paraic Fanning has criticised the GAA plans to clamp down on foreign training camps from next year.

It was reported recently that the GAA intends to ban overseas training trips for county sides from 2020 on and curb the duration of home-based camps.

The practice sparked controversy when the Waterford hurlers, along with the footballers of Laois and Armagh all lost a home league game this spring, as punishment for breaking the rules on training camps last year.

The rule was altered at Congress in February where it was mandatory for counties to be granted permission from the GAA’s CCCC to undertake extended training camps either at home or abroad.

Waterford spent time in Portugal last week on a training camp, their trip receiving the green light as they were able to guarantee that four weekends were kept free for club activity between the close of their league campaign and their first championship tie.

Fanning believes there are far more pressing issues that the GAA should be concentrating on.

“I think it’s a load of nonsense, being totally honest. I think the GAA could concentrate on a few other things, more pressing for everybody, club players and county players than worrying about top players (that) are trying to prepare for a championship and doing their best to prepare properly.

“Be that home or abroad, wherever it is. I don’t think they should be too concerned, as they seem to be about it. I think everyone does training camps. I think all counties do them.

“It’s one of the few times you get a chance, especially after the club championships that you get everyone back up to speed again. So the fact that we’ve normally been at home most of the time, we went away this year.

“I think that’s something that the GAA talk about sitting down in a room and [deciding] what’s best. The hierarchy are talking about that. It would be good to have a talk and a good consultation about that and then make an informed decision, rather than making a decision without talking to anybody.”

Fanning was pleased with how the trip to Portugal went. After the Deise had been sanctioned for a 2018 training camp, they were forced to play their home league game against Offaly in February in Semple Stadium.

He also addressed the suggestion that the expense of training camps put pressure on counties.

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“We got it approved (the recent Portugal trip). Even last year we were one of the few counties who played our four club games in April last year, and we still got punished. This year, we looked for approval and we went away. It went well.

“Have they researched it? Are they aware it saves money? Is there proof of that? It’s easy to pick something to zone in on.

“I just think there’s no need for it. When you train, last year’s logic was you’d only have training camps ten days out from championship. No manager is their right mind is going to bring a team on a training camp within ten days of championship.

“So why come up with something like that? To be honest, we’re on top of the Munster Championship. I’m not too bothered with what they’re doing next year. But I do think it should be reviewed.

“I can see the arguments too from the GAA perspective. But I think it’s important that you get the feedback from the people who are at the face of it.

“That includes players, it includes managers. Of course it costs money. Everything we do at inter-county level has an expense. It’s the same at home. I would say, check the costs.”

Ahead of Waterford’s opening Munster hurling tie against Clare on 12 May, Fanning is optimistic about their injury situation.

“There was about 15 of them out at one stage. We have one or two tweaks that some lads have that may or may not get over the line. But in the overall context I think everyone is back.

“Shane Fives is back, Darragh (Fives) still has a little bit of an injury at the moment. Conor Gleeson is very close. But again we’ve just got to gauge. This week will tell a lot for us. They’re only coming back from the club games now.

“So we’re only really getting back into the full swing, two weeks out from the championship.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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