Former Kilkenny hurling star Tommy Walsh explained why he is against the idea of semi-professionalism on OTB AM this morning.
Following on from the GPA CEO Paul Flynn’s recent comments about players looking towards semi-professionalism, Walsh discussed the numerous reasons he would be against the changes stating: “I can’t see any positives that can come out of this.”
Beyond the acknowledgement that the players would appreciate a few quid in the pocket Walsh thinks that the decision could ruin the community-centric element of the sport if it would even be feasible to implement.
“Say if you have 60 teams, is it possible to fund sixty teams with panels of thirty players, then management will probably have to start being looked after. County boards will probably have to go full time to be able to look after such operations.”
“So is it feasible? I don’t think so anyway.”
Walsh also worried that the players would suffer as money would take the enjoyment out of the game.
“Bring in professionalism where they get a few quid a week suddenly then, they’re in one or two year contracts. The enjoyment goes out of it straight away.”
He further elaborated on that by saying “Say you’re contract is expiring this year, suddenly you run into a few injury worries maybe you’re running out of a bit of form. Suddenly then you’re worried about whether your contract will be extended next year, it takes out the enjoyment.”
Jim Gavin has come out against the proposed action saying “I'm not going to speak about the GPA but my own personal thoughts are that I'm here, I volunteer my time, I expect everyone does that as well and upholds the principles of the GAA.” He also said “Players on 50 cent a mile are not in this for financial gain; they're in it to represent their parish.”
Kilkenny Icon Brian Cody has also been against this concept, saying in a 2018 interview “Semi-professionalism, professionalism and the GAA can never go together. Just can’t happen.People will argue it is there in some places, with, maybe, some managers. It is certainly not there with me. It goes against everything the GAA stands for."
Written by Hugh Farrell