Taking fun out of sport: Clarinbridge players’ charter is a step too far

Our man Frank is unimpressed with the hardline (leaked) Clarinbridge GAA players’ charter; Meanwhile, while enthused by the love his Ukrainian friends are showing for Ireland, our columnist was reminded of the negative message the recent riots in Dublin have sent to people abroad…

One of the best subjects for the proverbial pub debate is the level of commitment required by, and expected from, amateur intercounty GAA players.

It is widely accepted that our footballers, hurlers and camogie players put in an effort that is often not appreciated by people who follow county teams. We hear of all kinds of restrictions on players, including alcohol bans, and – as with everything – there are always differing opinions as to what is right or wrong.

A common view of those high profile intercounty players is that they put their lives on hold for the duration of their career, and I for one make no secret of my belief that no team manager should have the right to impose any restrictions on amateur sportspeople. There should be enough faith in their players that they will look after themselves properly, without having to treat them like children. When I land my dream job of managing the Galway footballers, they will be allowed to lead normal social lives, with no restrictions on their alcohol intake – except in championship weeks.

Despite constant denials by everyone involved, it is no secret that some managers, even at club level, are handsomely rewarded for their efforts, and as with most jobs, results are everything. Win and you keep your job, but keep losing and you could be on your way out.

However, the recent leak of Clarinbridge’s senior hurling team charter, which among other things bars players from going on holidays during championship season from June to October (unless approved by management), or of having any alcohol during the same period (unless approved by management), shows that sport has become very serious indeed, including at GAA club level.

It poses the question as to whether sport has become all about winning, and whether the fun and enjoyment is gone out of it?

Now it appears that this charter was drawn up and approved by the Clarinbridge players themselves, but as noble as it seems, I could see it bringing all sorts of problems. For example, if I spot one of the lads having a quiet pint on a night out during championship season, do I report him to the management team, thereby ruling him out for the season? Supposing it’s your best player, what do you do? And if you do report him, what will that do to your friendship?

Everything about being subject to an 11-point charter goes against all I believe in as regards being involved in your local club team. A bit of common sense on behalf of management and players would be a lot more effective.

The other consequence of Clarinbridge’s leak is that the whole country will be looking out for their results –they nearly have to win the Galway Hurling Championship or else the charter will prove to have been the waste of time that I think it is!


Firm action needs

to be taken against

any convicted rioters


It’s Sunday evening, and I am out for a stroll during that part of the ‘day’ that is neither day or night. As I walk along the nearly deserted country roads, I think about a conversation I had with some Ukrainian friends during the week.

They told me how much they love our clear fresh air, our green grass, our trees, our soft (sometimes) rain, our rainbows, the sound of the birds singing, the regular animal sounds, and all the other things that add up to our way of life. It made me realise how much we Irish actually take for granted.

They have fallen so much in love with our country that even in the unlikely event of peace breaking out in their home land, they would have to think very seriously about returning home; as of now, they think they would prefer to stay here.

As I walked in the beautiful, cold, clean air, with all the relevant sights and sounds, I wondered how they would feel about the actions of the thugs and morons who set about destroying their own capital city during the riots of last Thursday evening week.

It’s amazing how our elected public representatives can have such diverse opinions on the thugs who burned and looted Dublin city, with Cllr Adaz Taludker in Limerick saying the rioters “should be shot in the head” – remarks he subsequently retracted – while Senator Lynn Ruane criticised Justice Minister Helen McEntee for calling them thugs and scumbags. She said that description “dehumanises” them, although in my opinion it was their own actions that dehumanised them.

Anyway, one of the results of their actions is that certain countries are once again warning their citizens to exercise great caution if they go to Dublin, only a few months after similar advice following the assault on American citizen Stephen Termini.

Tourism is one of the mainstays of our economy and any action that damages it has to be frowned upon, and so we should impact on our rioters and looters in the same way – i.e. ruin their own personal economy by taking away all their social welfare benefits – and maybe then they might actually go to work.

We have the best social welfare system in the world, and there are many genuine recipients who earned and deserve every help they can get, but there are just as many who are ‘career’ welfare recipients who simply refuse to work.

If any of the rioters are convicted, they should be automatically disqualified from any future welfare assistance – they might think twice about any further action if they saw such measures being implemented.

Ordeal in A&E

It’s 2.30 pm on Monday as I write, and I find myself on an unexpected and unscheduled trip to the A&E department in Galway University Hospital.

I am writing this while in the waiting room, which at this moment has 35 people waiting in it! It is full to capacity, as it has been since my arrival an hour and a half ago.

The heat is unbearable, despite minus temperatures outside, and I imagine this must be quite an unhealthy place; all around me people are coughing and spluttering, and of the by now 40 or more patients, only four (not including me) are wearing masks. It wouldn’t be good if someone with Covid unwittingly joined us!

However, all of the patients are here for a reason, which presumably is to see someone to help make them better. Uncomfortable as it is, we don’t really have a choice – but it does makes me long for the days when we had our own A&E in Roscommon.

I am not going to go back over the broken promises made in relation to Roscommon Hospital, but on a day like today the impact of its closure really hits home.

In case you think I am being unfair, I do of course acknowledge the tremendous work the staff do under difficult circumstances. Without them, God knows where some of us would be.

It’s now just after six o’clock, and I have been given the green light. After only five hours, I am on my way home.

Beside me was the best behaved eight-month-old baby that I have ever seen. I say that because for the five hours she has spent in the A&E, there wasn’t a ‘meg’ out of her. As I left, she was still waiting to be attended to, and I hope she hadn’t much longer to wait or she would surely miss her bedtime.

If anything, the crowd as I was leaving was bigger than at any other time during the day, so all I can say is well done to all the A&E staff, who really are run off their feet. A nurse I spoke to told me she had had no chance to eat or have a break all day, and that pretty much seems to be the norm!

It’s no wonder that staff are leaving in big numbers.  Who can blame them?

The late Bridie Kilcommins

We lost another of our parish elders when Bridie Kilcommons of Kilbegnet passed away recently.

Predeceased by her husband Martin, she will be greatly missed by her daughters Kathleen and Michelle, and by her seven sons: Peter, Michéal, Willie, Frank, Kieran, Sean and Damien, as well as by her many friends and relatives.

Bridie was a great family woman, who loved the game of cards, playing music, and knitting, and her loss leaves a huge void in her immediate family and in the local area. May she rest in peace.