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WATCH: 'County players will only train Wednesdays and Fridays' | Jarlath Burns

Ryan Clarke
Ryan Clarke

20:58 26 Feb 2020

GAA presidential candidate Jarlath Burns has said he would seek to restrict the training of inter-county players if he is elected on Friday.

Until the end of the league, Burns would restrict the training of inter-county players to only Wednesdays and Fridays.

The former Armagh midfielder was in the Off The Ball studio on Wednesday to discuss his candidacy and the topic of conversation turned to how he would tackle the spiralling costs of fielding inter-county teams.

Burns explained that the Gaelic Players Association must “stop being looked at as the bad boy, and start being looked at as part of the solution.”

He said that he has consulted GPA CEO Paul Flynn on his proposed changes and that the four-time All-Star is in agreement with him.

“Paul Flynn talks about “sustainable amateurism” and that’s the word [we have to focus on] in the next 10 years.

“We have to protect our amateur status and if I talk to county chairs they’ll say that they cannot sustain [current level of spending],” said Burns.

“If you talk to Niall Moyna from DCU, he’ll say players are doing 40% too much training so everybody is saying the same thing.

“The answer is very simple. I cannot expect as a member of the Armagh executive to tell Kieran McGeeney, ‘Hey boy, you’re going to have to train these lads less and we’re going to spend less.’

“If we’re going out to play Fermanagh or Westmeath, he has to be doing better than Fermanagh because it’s an aggressive, competitive game,” he said.

Jarlath Burns' training charter

The first point of Burns’ new charter on training, he says, is that the GPA needs to say to county boards that their players will be unavailable for training until January 1. 

Right now, it is claimed that inter-county players go through their most demanding training in November and December with the first round of the Championship starting in May.

“Point two is that until the end of the league, county players will only train Wednesdays and Fridays - no other night,” said Jarlath Burns.

“You’re immediately thinking, ‘ah they’re going to break that.’ Not if there’s proper leadership.

“Not if we’re going back to county chairs and saying, ‘hang on buster, you told us what you wanted to change, you told us that you wanted to not be spending as much money. 

‘We are providing a mechanism by which we can do this and you’re breaking this. Therefore you have broken amateur status and 10 per cent of the €250,000 you get from Croke Park is your fine,’” he explained.

Burns’ final point regards what he calls the “tyranny of travel.” 

He says that players who play for their university will have to stay with them rather than travelling across the country to train with their county, according to Burns.

“January, February will be Sigerson Cup and Fitzgibbon Cup.

“The respect and footprint we have in universities are unrivalled by other sports and we cannot insult those universities anymore.

“We will say, any players playing in that will be staying and training with his university, he will not be travelling across the country,” said Jarlath Burns.

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GAA GAA President GPA Gaelic Football Hurling Jarlath Burns Paul Flynn

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