Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Jerry Kiernan critical of grants to GAA

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Jerry Kiernan critical of grants to GAA

In the middle of last week, the Irish Sports Council announced a €900k support scheme for GAA  Inter-County Players for the next two years. In reaction to this news, some international Irish athletes had commented that limited funds should have been spent on those representing Ireland internationally rather than on GAA players playing for counties.

Newstalk radio interviewed Irish athletics commentator Jerry Kiernan for his reaction. In it, he doesn't exactly mince his words.....

“I wouldn’t (give GAA players a grant), I think the GAA is the richest sporting association in the country, and they should be well able to look after themselves. I don’t particularly like the GAA, I don’t like football in particular, there’s not much to it….but I watched bits of the games over the weekend and what struck me was how unfit the players were.”

“My one abiding memory of the championship last year was when Donegal beat Kerry (in the All-Ireland quarter-final). In the Irish Times the following day you had (a photograph of) four Kerry players trooping off the field…and I looked at it and I said to myself ‘well these are four people who didn’t invest too much time in training.’ I don’t have a high opinion of their fitness; I don’t have a high opinion of their commitment to fitness.”

“…there’s absolutely no comparison (between athletes’ training regime and that of inter-county players). I believe that the GAA people live in a cloistered world and they don’t think beyond what they do themselves, and they tell themselves that they are training hard.”

“I often notice when they (GAA players) are commenting on things, they’re always talking about the sacrifices they make. You’ll never hear that among athletes, boxers, swimmers or people who do international running. But always with the GAA it’s always, always a sacrifice. Now maybe I’m extra sensitive to this…but they all talk about the sacrifice they’re making.”

“When you talk to them (the coaches) after, they’ll tell you how poor they (the players) are fitness-wise.”

“I would only give money to people who are competing internationally.”

The full interview can be heard below. It starts at 7:00 and runs until 22:40......

The grant scheme works out at €400 per GAA player per annum. Some will argue that the GAA should be funded as it's a sport unique to Ireland but should the inter county players be getting grants? Should sports grants be reserved for international athletes?


Anonymous said...

I've a foot in both camps so I'm not biased either way. But I'd love to see an athlete running a 10K, and every 400m get a dig in the ribs or a belt of a shoulder. That would show him how hard it is to play gaelic football. Fitness is important but it's not all about fitness.
Come to think of it, I'd like to see someone give Jerry Kiernan a few belts every 30 seconds or so when he's on Tv. It would do him the world of good.

Anonymous said...

All this from a Kerryman!!! there is a few points here. Should GAA players be getting aid? yes they should I don't see anything wrong with it. Should athletes be getting more and better funding? Of course they should. What they get is pitiful. Rob Heffernan gets something like 25K a year. It's amazing he did what he did on such little money. Are GAA players less fit than international runners? That's like comparing apples and oranges. Different sports, different fitness required. Also GAA players are not full time and I think jerry is being a bit harsh here. Runners have outstanding fitness but they it's essentially a straight line sport. Tactially it wouldn't compare to team sports where you turn and twist and get kicked all over the field.let's be honest more runners won't be as physically strong as team players of comparable quality

I am a Jerry Kiernan fan but sometimes he should think before he speaks

Anonymous said...

what an offensive comment to make. It is completely at odds with what the GAA is officially about but unfortunately, this way of thinking is typical of GAA players and supporters i.e. that the bigger (heavier) guys are entitled to throw their weight around on the pitch and intimidate the opposition and that speed, agility or skills are nowhere near as important.

Of course the GAA shouldn't be granted 900k. Give them some of it sure but most of that money should be distributed to other sports where athletes are definitely working harder at preparing year round and often representing Ireland on the world stage.

Anonymous said...

Whch comment is offensive? I don't think either of the two comments at the top are saying it's ok to "throw their weight around the pitch" but in team sports it is essentail to have strength and muscle but also speed and skill

Anonymous said...

i've played GAA from the age of 8 and at one stage was involved with a county training panel (cut before final panel).

I have been in athletics for the past 4 years.

The standard of commitment is not an issue in either sport at any level.

The issue is how limited funds should be used to help sportspeople in ireland.

1. The GAA should be able to fund it's own county teams - there should be no excuse or need for money from the government.

2. Any money from the government to the GAA in my opinion should be used to provide sporting amenities/access at the basic/grass roots level only.

3. In my opinion it is much easier to become a member of a county panel than it is to get any funding as an athlete by the criteria used today.

the level of commitment is not the issue. the issue is where best should funding for sports go and should the GAA not be able to look after their own county teams?


rom said...

+1 Pat.

Jerry had a good point that these grants if paid should be coming from the GAA and not from the same pot as international athletics has to get money from also but he then used the airtime to give a few digs at a sport that he does not like. Adding this did not help his point.

Commitment is not in question but rather ability. Grants in athletics are given out based on a proven track record of ability to a very select few whereas in GAA is is not the same recognition of ability. The top hurler in the country gets the same as the worst inter county player for example under this scheme.

Anonymous said...

I agree with some of Jerry Kiernans points on the above issue. He is perhaps right in saying that perhaps only international athletes should get grants. The GAA is well funded enough to support many of its own players and programmes. The Revenues from Intercounty Championships should be channelled more into those who entertain and inspire us, the players.

Athletics is seen as a sport by some in GAA as one you do when youre too weak or not good enough to play GAA. Winning GAA medals are nearly seen as equal or better than International Championship medals or high rankings.
It is a pathetic and small minded Irish attitude towards athletics, which is a worldwide sport participated by many more athletes and sporting nations than the GAA.

Athletics in turn is not well funded by government and perhaps is deprived by some funding in part due to the dominance of GAA in Ireland.

The difference in funding would be helped, if people in Ireland, the Government, GAA and Irish athletics were more positive and open minded to each others sports.

Anonymous said...

Kiernan made some interesting points but couldnt resist a cut at things he clearly doesnt like. May have lost his message as a result.
As one with a foot in both camps I still don't understand part of the argument made here.
The GAA,an amateur organisation providing facilities to the majority of the community should not get funding because they happen to be well organised and properly self financing.
Athletics Ireland,an amateur organisation providing assistance and organisation but not much in the way of facilities should be better financed by the Government because they are not properly structured or funded.
That argument does not add up to me Im afraid and much as I would love to see our athletes better funded looking to the Government on every occassion will inevitably lead to these arguments about parity of esteem

Dave O Regan said...

If the GAA want to pay players then they should be able to fund the payments to players from gate receipts. If they can't afford it don't pay them. In these straitened times where we are being asked to pay additional taxes at every turn I don't want my money going to GAA players when there are so many deserving causes having their funding cut.

Gerard said...

The biggest disadvantage athletics has in this country is that it is not part of the sports curriculum at primary level - an extraordinary omission given running is a basic fitness and skill for all three sports played in this country. It requires at school boy level little in the way of equipment, it allows those who dont get picked for the first 11/15 to actively participate. This is the issue that all should first and foremost focus upon.
And yet almost no one does ? Why. It is up to us all who are interested in athletics to screaming this from the heavens.
Maybe too many people in athletics are too comfortable in their positions as officials etc, maybe they dont want to rock the boat. Kiernan was right, rock the boat and then people will pay some attention.

Anonymous said...

I am a runner,now over 50, (marathon PB sub 3.40)The GAA has money because its a well organised association based on the parish. Most GAA clubs now have at least 2 playing pitches, mostly funded from gate receipts etc. How many localities have running tracks? Simply put, athletics has very little gate receipts. A West Cork U13 football final may have an attendance of 300, with gate receipts of nearly €1,000. The GAA re-invest the money in infrastructure etc. GAA players should continue to receive the €400 grant.

Anonymous said...

my son is an inter county player and I would not begrudge him any funding he is all spent on the expense of travelling all over the country for matches and training. The commitment with playing at this level is huge, playing for county, club and sometimes college also. They are expected to have the fitness levels of professional players yet most are trying to hold down jobs or study for exams.