Longford Leader Columnist Mattie Fox: Own goals have caused good work of GAA to be lost sight of

Mattie Fox


Mattie Fox



Longford Leader Columnist Mattie Fox: Own goals have caused good work of GAA to be lost sight of

The organisation which we all love to the point of obsessiveness has managed to commit yet another clanger.

Every step forward is quickly obliterated by three steps back.

Once again, following hot on the heels of the Newbridge pitch saga which the GAA declared “couldn’t be used on safety grounds”, and cited the rules.

They then altered that, by saying that the fixture couldn’t go ahead in Newbridge because of ‘the risk of animosity’ according to Ned Quinn, the man who is tasked with heading up the fixtures committee in the people’s GAA.

More recently, the organisation were taking a heavy hammering at the hands of all those people who wanted the Liam Miller memorial to be moved to Pairc Uí Chaoimh.

Once again the GAA cited “the rules”. They’d have to wait until next Congress, you see!

Nickey Brennan, former president of the GAA said that the good work of the GAA “was being lost sight of” in all this fuss.

Well indeed the good work is certainly being lost sight of, but who caused that? The heavy handed, domineering, antiquated, out of touch GAA themselves.

No wonder that Damien Duff could say that “GAA dinosaur’s should be ashamed of themselves”.

It takes a fairly misguided organisation to give a soccer player the ammunition to castigate the GAA in such a fashion.

I loved football, and hurling, but of late it makes for terrible, pedestrian, plodding fare, when one tries watching football.

As long as managers are dealt a hand that primarily involves preventing the opposition scoring, the game of Gaelic Football will continue to be lethargic, and very boring.

Of course, of course, we will have occasional bursts of a good game here, another one there, but really in terms of the heart and soul of the game, we’re constantly feeding it even more room to cause self destruction.

There is no doubt that in terms of overall care for our youth, and society, the GAA is a marvellous, unquestionable association.

What it does for the future of young men is immeasurable.

But even this area is also being neglected, by the current rulers.

There are more volunteer workers in every club, than ever before.

Good people who care for the local society, and want to leave it better than they themselves found it, and of course this is one of the cardinal intentions of the broader GAA.

Croke Park, which has guided the GAA through thick and thin over the years, has lost most of its connection to the reality of rural clubs. I’m sure they don’t mean it, or realise it, in the real sense, but Croke Park is totally out of touch with reality.

This, for better or worse, is 2018, and the people on the ground are quite capable of seeing through the GAA’s condescending attitude.

Of course the national media weren’t behind the lines in jumping to react straight away, but doesn’t anyone in headquarters think?

Are they still operating under the illusion that every word from Croke Park will be taken as gospel?

Everyone knows we’re in the grip of social media, so every official must be mindful of that.

Most of this happens because of the preoccupation with maximising the revenue taken at Croke Park, and allowing ‘foreign’ events to interfere with the smooth running of Croke Park, and indeed, other stadia around the country.

We’ve had multiple concerts in grounds all across the land, by Ed Sheeran, leaving those pitches sorry sights to see. This is not the fault of Ed Sheeran, nor of his promoter in Ireland.

No, it is absolutely the fault of the GAA, and is testament to its preoccupation with revenue.

Many things need to change in the GAA. Rule changes, numbers of substitutions allowed, whether or not there should be replays for All Ireland semi finals. We profess and preach about caring about our athletes, we don’t care much if they’re expected to come out a week later to replay after playing over 95 minutes on Sunday last.

I don’t think Ed Sheeran or Michael Buble would do it.

If they would, they both need a new manager.