The Camogie Association and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association have both issued separate statements in the past 24 hours outlining the support which they provide to inter-county teams and players.

The LGFA has published a detailed 17 page report of a survey undertake with the 32 counties that paints a clear picture of the supports which are available from medical and nutrition to payment of expenses and provision of gear.

Every team at each grade of Senior, intermediate and Junior has a team physio, 30 of the 32 has an strength and conditioning coach, and the same number provide a meal after every training session. 29 have access to a gym, 26 have a team nutritionist, 23 have a performance analyst and eight have their own team doctor. Five of the counties ask the players to make some contribution towards different expenses, all of which it is said was agreed and included the provision of additional gear.

In relation to travel expenses all players are included in the Government scheme which last season delivered €1.4 million. 14 counties pay additional expenses ranging from mileage to flights, some on an agreed and some on an ad hoc basis. One county said that they paid an additional €7,000 last season but this year has had €15,000 submitted for additional expenses, an amount it said it was not expecting.

19 of the counties have a set facility for training with 14 moving this around based on size of the county, pitch availability and other reasons.

It is a solid and robust correction to the perception that the provision of services and facilities is almost non-existent and again stresses the fact that the row which has prompted protest and a partial media blackout in the important latter stages of the championship season is one that is based on a breakdown in communication, exacerbated by different perceptions of urgency.

The Camogie Association statement says that “The Camogie Association are disappointed the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) has not engaged in a meaningful way with the Association regarding the State of Play Report since 14th June 2023.”

“The Camogie Association has again formally requested re-engagement from the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) regarding the State of Play Report. This request comes after the GPA presented the report to the Ard Chomhairle on June 14th, 2023. The Association are seeking more detailed information and identification of priority areas that need to be addressed.”

“The Camogie Association recognises the significance of the concerns raised by inter-county players and emphasises the importance of the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) re-engaging with us on these matters. We are steadfast in our commitment to collaborating with them, firmly believing that open and constructive dialogue is the most effective approach to address these issues.”

“The information requested will provide valuable insight into any existing issues or inequities. We are fully committed to working with the GPA to address these concerns, using the resources available to our Association in the short, medium, and long term, however, it is imperative we understand all the data presented before we can action any elements of the report.”

“The Camogie Association has noted the comments made by GAA Director General Tom Ryan to the Joint Committee for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport and Media yesterday and is following up directly with the Director General on the GAA’s availability to support the efforts of the Camogie Association to improve supports to inter county players.”

The LGFA said “The Ladies Gaelic Football Association wishes to clarify that recent meetings have taken place between representatives of the GAA, the LGFA and the Camogie Association, contrary to the impression portrayed at yesterday’s Oireachtas gathering.

“At these meetings, it was acknowledged that a charter for inter-county players forms part of the overall and ongoing integration process and cannot be deal with in isolation, as constitutionally, the GAA, LGFA and Camogie are three separate Associations.”

“However, an LGFA delegation instigated a pre-arranged meeting with Gaelic Players Association representatives, which took place today (Thursday July 13). At this meeting, the LGFA reiterated its commitment to ensuring that a charter is in place for
players ahead of the 2024 season.”

Like any trade dispute there will always be a solution and it is almost always one that requires a degree of movement on both sides.

Gaelic Games remains as an amateur sport but with a very professional structure. It could not operate in anything like its current form if there was to be a leakage of funding through the payment of players.

That reality does give rise to frustrations and at times distrust though when professional administrators are paid, income is derived from sponsors and media, professional services are provided and the perception can be that everyone is getting something bar the players.

The current impasse is one based on timing, of the different horizons of improvement from the long ter-term of a national governing body to the more immediate of a player.

More information, calmer statements and continuation of dialogue will get everyone to a better place which is the intention.