Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


'Difference between perception and reality' | Paul Flynn defends GPA image

Paul Flynn has defended the image of the Gaelic Players' Association (GPA), as the former Dublin ...

Paul Flynn has defended the image of the Gaelic Players' Association (GPA), as the former Dublin star argues some people don't "fully understand" the work they do.

The GPA CEO was speaking on OTB AM after they released their annual report for 2019 yesterday, which included financial figures, and participation numbers in player development programmes.

On yesterday's show, Bernard Flynn and Cahair O'Kane questioned the future role of the GPA, with Bernard Flynn saying their public image is "damaged".

"The GPA now for a couple of years have got away with murder in my belief. The brand is damaged, there's no question about that. It shouldn't be. It should be revered, it should be respected, it should be one the players are so proud of."

Paul Flynn however says any general negative impression of the GPA is wide of the mark.

"It's the difference between perception and reality, and unfortunately reality is different to people's perceptions. My take on this is very clear - our key stakeholder in this is the inter-county players.

"Because we are the representative body of the inter-county players... that's our role. We need to continue to represent them.

"Some of the things we aim to achieve may not appease everyone, [but] we have to just be happy in the fact that we are representing our core membership, the inter-county players.

"That's always going to create some level of, conflict is a bit strong, but we're not always going to be in agreement with everybody's views of the world.

"What sometimes gets lost in it is all inter-county players are club players too. They're all delighted to be back with their clubs training hard... it's excellent. But equally they want to get back into that high-performance environment.

"We're the representative body of the inter-county players. Everybody loves the inter-county players, but they hate the GPA. Or misunderstand the GPA.

"So it's important that we continue to get our message out there, and that's why, with our annual report, if everyone wants to see it and go through the different things and see the things we do for the players, I think they'd get a greater appreciation for the breadth of what we do.

"Fixture reform is certainly one of the main items on our agenda, but it's not the only item. There's a suite of other things we do across player development and player welfare that maybe people just don't understand fully."

GPA co-founder Donal O'Neill was on last night's Off The Ball, and he acknowledged the association probably were compromised to some extent by their financial deal with the GAA.

"Of course they are. The reason that there's a financial transaction is because there's a give and a take, that's what people must remember.

"I remember back in the day, Dessie (Farrell) took counsel from Gerry Adams at one point, and the advice was "if you're going to go in and take the dollar then make sure you get what you're going in for, go in hard and strike that deal once because you will only do it once".

"So that ship has sailed and the deal that was cut between the GAA and GPA was financially good for the GPA but strategically it was brilliant for the GAA."

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Donal O'Neill GAA GPA Gaelic Players Association Otb Am Paul Flynn