Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

GAA has to get with the programme

There is an old spring tradition on the sports desk of some Dublin newspapers, of fielding calls midweek from men with far too much sense of entitlement, demanding to know the Irish rugby team before it is printed in the paper.

Such information would be a powerful tool in golf clubhouses, saloon bars and cafes frequented by the egg-chasing classes.

Naturally, the papers would not surrender such knowledge, given that they would wish to sell their product the following day with the team announcement.

It seems that the GAA have only belatedly caught onto this. Next week, a motion will go to Congress concerning the publication of teams ahead of Championship matches. It insists that the teams are sent to the Director General by 12 noon, four days before the game takes place for issue to media.

The penalty for non-compliance with be €500.

However, this practise will still leave it open for team managers to place 'dummy' teams in the media. Any objections to the published teams will be waved away with excuses of injuries sustained in a late training session or the warm-up.

Some managers such as Mickey Harte know the importance of promoting the GAA from within, and have always produced teams throughout the league promptly. Others regard the media with suspicion, jealously guarding their selections.

Motion 49 seeks to redress the balance, but if it becomes a laughing stock it should be swiftly abandoned and replaced by squad numbers.

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