Dessie Farrell hits back at claims the GPA is not focused on player welfare

The Chief Executive of the Gaelic Player's Association stated that comments from Fergus Connolly did not reflect the work the body does.

BY Adrian Collins 14:00 Tuesday 1 March 2016, 14:00 1 Mar 2016

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Former Dublin Performance Director Fergus Connolly's claims that the Gaelic Player's Association (GPA) was not adequately looking after the welfare of players were refuted by chief executive Dessie Farrell. 

Connolly questioned the amount of injuries that seem to be taking place in training, and questioned why the GPA weren't looking into it to a greater degree.

"If a player's association isn't concerned with this, what is it's real role?," asked Connolly. "This is reported factual information that a group who really had player welfare in mind could actually do something with".

Hitting back in The Belfast Telegraph, Farrell pointed to the decision passed by the GAA Annual Congress this past weekend to change some of the age groupings as a step to protect the younger players in the sport.

Farrell stated the decision to make that change had been based off research that was backed by the GPA "into the challenges that third-level students who are county players actually encounter".

Farrell added that they have been doing a lot of work also for the welfare of players, including counselling and dealing with personal issues, which he states are "just some of the examples of the work we have been doing in the area of player burnout, which indeed is separate from the area of player welfare". 

Connolly had criticised the GPA for covering that issue as "it's easy for the GPA to talk about things like depression. Nobody is going to disagree with them", a comment which Farrelly described as "dismissive" and "unfortunate, because we do support players who are affected in those ways". 

Farrell also highlighted that the GPA had proposed changes to the schedule of inter-county games to give players breaks, but they were not passed by Congress

Via The Belfast Telegraph

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