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Dessie Farrell backs end to training ban

Dessie Farrell, chief executive of the Gaelic Players Association, is the latest high-profile personality to call for the close season training ban on county squads to be scrapped.

Farrell has joined the chorus of frustration and anger against the ban which he insists is being “contravened left, right and centre”.

Farrell’s concerns are shared by many Ulster county team bosses and he goes further by suggesting that some county boards are happy to use the official ban to avoid paying expenses to players.

And Farrell, the manager of the Dublin minor side, is particularly anxious about the welfare of younger players, especially those playing third-level football.

“Where does the close season or the training ban sit for players like these? They are wanted by their universities and by their clubs and counties at different levels and this is a big problem,” stresses Farrell.

And he issued a stark warning to the GAA authorities.

“You should avoid introducing rules that are too difficult to police. I'd be more inclined to leave it up to counties themselves to deal with the individual players at the centre of this issue, making sure they're getting proper rest and recovery,” points out Farrell.

Meanwhile, the Ulster Council has paid a special tribute to some of its leading referees.

Speaking at a special ceremony council chairman Aoghan Farrell said: “We all know that referees have the toughest job on the field. You can’t keep all of the people happy all of the time but I am very proud of our referees in Ulster and their good work.”

Farrell pointed to the important role that Ulster referees played in the recent All-Ireland senior and minor football finals.

“It was great to see two Ulster referees in charge of the GAA’s biggest games of the year – Joe McQuillan from Cavan was the man in charge of the senior decider while Armagh’s Padraig Hughes refereed the minor final.”

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