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Club players' union is a must after Tyrone county final replay mess

By Declan Bogue

Imagine you are, to use as an example, Dermot Carlin this Friday. The former Tyrone player is a Killyclogher clubman. He is not long into a new job, which is based in Belfast and, as a result, faces a long daily commute.

Killyclogher are in the Tyrone county final replay this Friday night. It throws in at 7.30pm. The Killyclogher players will need to have eaten something around 5pm ahead of a final meeting, and then their warm-up.

Or say you are another former Tyrone player, Johnny Curran of Coalisland.

A barber by trade, his busiest and most lucrative time of the week is Friday evenings. He will have to set down his scissors from lunchtime at the latest.

Both men are pursuing their hobby of Gaelic football. An amateur sport. There will be a crowd of anything up to 10,000 there to watch them play and they will not get a penny of the gate receipts.

In fact, it is going to cost them to partake in the showpiece day of Tyrone club football.

They are being fed the constant baffling untruth from the very highest ranks of GAA officialdom, that the club is the bedrock of the Association. Attempts by the GAA to condense the county season have failed. And their county board re-arrange a final for a Friday night.

Not only is it not good enough, but it is a grave insult to both panels that they will be forced to take a day off work to play on a Friday night.

Which is why the announcement that the formation of a club players' association, headed up by former Monaghan selector Declan Brennan, has not come a moment too soon.

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