Derrick Lynch: COMMENT
I am not sure how familiar the Desert Rose Band are with either Ladies Football or Camogie, but their big hit from 1987 goes a long way in describing the manner in which the two associations operate.
It is becoming increasingly clear that at national level, it really is a case of One Step Forward And Two Steps Back when it comes to trying to coax them to work together for the good of the most important resource they have; their players.
How many times over recent years have the two associations been the sole architects of negative headlines in the face of fixture controversies? Just take the most recent cases of Orla O’Dwyer in Tipperary and Caoimhe McGrath in Waterford. Both are equally talented in both codes, but both have also found themselves in the situation where they have either had to choose which team to play with, or in the case of O’Dwyer, undergo the mammoth task of playing two championship games on the same day.
It is a ludicrous situation and the reality is that the buck stops at the very top. The job of the national body is to promote and foster the game to the best of their ability and more importantly, to facilitate the players who give their time to provide the entertainment that drives the interest. That fact that these scenarios arise time and again shows a serious disconnect between the corridors of power and the grassroots.
Clare will play Meath in the National Ladies Football league in Doonbeg on Sunday at the same time that the camogie squad head to Nowlan Park to meet Kilkenny. Niamh O’Dea and Siofra Ní Chonaill are members of both panels, and will have to make a decision as to where they will go. The incredible thing here is the new directive that those at the top have adopted. They have now stated that it is up to individual counties to manage their fixtures to accommodate dual players, as there are too many dual players now playing the game to centralise the process. In other words, there are too many players taking up our sports and we are going to do nothing to facilitate them doing so. It is absolute madness.
We are lucky in Clare that there is a good working relationship between the two top tables, and even luckier again that the diligent and hard-working Marie Louise Kaiser is a common denominator between the two. The same is true of the relationship between the two management teams, so this issue lies exclusively at the doors in Croke Park, and the two doors are only metres apart. The day is quickly coming where the One Club model, which the grassroots are leading the way on, will have to be adopted at national level. The members on the ground are showing those in power the path to better procedures, and it is high time they were listened to in the interest of the most important actors in this saga. The players.