Peter Canavan believes there will be “serious side effects and gratifying consequences” in Dublin’s talk of dominating football, but says other counties looking to bridge the gap should focus on coaching rather than concrete.
While Tyrone Legend said he was an “unwilling participant” in the debate considering the time around the All-Ireland final, he said there must be an “acknowledgment that there is a problem” and that his views on that have changed in recent years.
“Many years ago Dublin needed to be rescued by the GAA and under the leadership of Sean Kelly, they came up with a strategic review and see where the seriousness of the powers that be is taking place.
“Now, the shoe is on the other foot and whenever this is discussed, it is Dublin that carries the aces in it,” Kenawan said.
“It is Dublin that will be in a position by which their influence is going to go a long way in defending the GAA in the coming years so first of all I think there is an acknowledgment that there is a problem, first of all.
“It simply came to our notice then. It was a matter of powers taking a strategic review and doing something about it.
“Many years ago, two or three years ago, I would have said, ‘Let him sit, this is a one-team team, you won’t get anything like this again and if we talk about the player, see if you don’t want to play against him, do you?’ Don’t want to be on the team that took Dublin down? ‘But this is going on for a long time and you are starting to see that this is not a pay generation thing.
“Brogans is not there, Paul Flynn is not there, Michael Darag [Macauley]; Even his two best players from Dublin may not be on the team at the minute, Brian Howard and Paul Mion, so it’s not a matter of pay, he will go ahead and it’s up to Dublin.
“They’ve got their building in order from the administration level, to the coaching level, and they’ve taken off, but with 15 titles in 16 years, it’s unfortunately detrimental to football in Leicester.
“He’s not doing any good in linster football and if he goes the way he is and they win another three-four All-Ireland, where football is to be abandoned overall so there needs to be an acknowledgment that there is a problem and there is. There will be serious decisions to be made in the years to come, but I prefer to talk about football at this stage. “
The spotlight has shone brightly on Dublin’s financial muscle in recent years, with a special focus on the big games they’ve won at Cantor. In 2018, for example, Dublin alone spends on 3.6 million on coaching and sports development.
While many counties are struggling to break the 1 million barrier in terms of overall annual revenue, the economic gap is pronounced. Canavan believes that Dublin’s focus on investing in coaching rather than infrastructure is part of why others are left behind.
“What Dublin is capable of doing very well is that they have invested heavily in coaching their club. When all the boys and girls see their stars performing on the big stage, they go out and they want to play Gaelic and they are getting quality coaching. In many counties, has it been copied?
“If a young boy goes to the standard of Gaelic coaching and coaching [is such that] He’s not having fun, he’s not learning, he’s not getting better, then he’s going to do hurling training or go play soccer or go somewhere else where he’s learning and having fun playing.
Many counties will have to get their building in that regard. “You mentioned Tyrone. Tyrone’s approach in recent years, there’s a lot of work going on, a lot of good funding, but a lot of the money has gone into infrastructure, into bricks and mortar, into a reduction in coaching.
“Dublin has done it the other way around. There are no weird centers of excellence or anything like that. They have spent their money on land.
You may have the best features and the best pitches, which is good and that’s important, but what’s going on is more important. “Tyrone and many other counties can keep an eye on the Dublin model and should copy it if they want to close the gap on the playground.”
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