The Annual General Meeting of the Gaelic Players Association took place yesterday at the Dunboyne Castle Hotel in Meath with around 70 representatives of inter county players from around the country taking part.

This is an important year for the Players Association with Paul Flynn at the helm for the first time heading into negotiations taking place about the next agreement to be put in place between the GAA and the players.

The current deal running from 2017 to 2019 realised €6.2 million per annum for the players in terms of programmes and expenses. The benefits of that source of funding were laid out in the Annual report of the Association published on Friday.

Over a thousand GPA members took part in player development programmes over the past year while 487 benefitted from third level scholarships to aid them in the development of careers away from the field of play.

“The GPA has made great progress over the last year and our three core pillars remain an integral part of planning for the future – Player Welfare, Player Development and Player Representation,” said Paul Flynn speaking ahead of the AGM.

“Our plan is to introduce new programmes and welfare supports for players shaped by the findings of the ESRI Report published in 2018.”

“As part of our 2020 strategy, I will open dialogue with current and past players along with other key stakeholders to get their views and feedback on various issues. This will assist us in our strategic planning for the next three years.”

Financially, there was an increase in revenue of five per cent and a reduction in overheads of 10 percent, giving rise to a net surplus of €306,300 as compared with €10,204 the previous year.

There were four motions up for discussion at yesterday’s AGM involving a more formal recognition of the Women’s Gaelic Players Association, the introduction of a centralised online expenses system, a review of the protocols around management of concussion and to press for the establishment of a group to review ‘competitive balance’ based on similar moves within Australian Football.

The GPA has been advocating a slower progress towards a Tier Two Football Championship, at least until after the publication of the Fixture Review Group which is due in November.

The GAA has however moved ahead with a motion to introduce a second tier at the Special Congress being held in Cork next month.

Image Credit: Matt Browne, Sportsfile