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Duffy urges officials to fulfil media obligations

By John Campbell

No less a person than GAA Director General Paraic Duffy has now firmly grasped a particularly stingy nettle that invariably surfaces on the cusp of and indeed throughout the championship season.

The Monaghan native strongly urges county team managers to totally discard the obnoxious media bans that tend to blight the Association's flagship competitions and instead ensure that both players and management personnel make themselves available for interview.

And he is also anxious to ensure genuine team lists are released in advance rather than the 'dummy' formations that are quite often foisted on the media.

Duffy's blast certainly could not be better timed. It is now not unknown for county board officials, managers and leading players to suddenly make themselves 'unavailable' in the immediate build-up to important games.

Yet those same officials and others are not slow to invoke the co-operation of the media when it comes to announcing new sponsorship deals, fund-raising initiatives, subsidiary competitions and other elements of grassroots life within the GAA.

While a number of counties host dedicated pre-championship media nights, these are still very much the exception rather than the rule with too many counties still prepared to cloak their preparations in secrecy – and still expect the fans to pour out in their thousands on match days.

In sending out his strong message to ensure that conventional standards of transparency, courtesy and efficiency are observed, Duffy hails the role of the media.

"The media have their job to do and while we might not always agree with their views, they have to be respected," maintains Duffy. "I know that many media personnel here in Ulster have the best interests of the GAA at heart and want to do the best possible job they can but they depend a lot on the co-operation they receive from all parties in order to achieve this."

While the Director General does not pull his punches, he is effusive in his praise for the manner in which the Ulster Council markets its games.

"The Ulster Council is well ahead of the field in this respect," states Duffy. "The Council is innovative and enterprising in its marketing techniques and works well with the media."

Ulster Council Director of Public Affairs Ryan Feeney makes it clear that the Council will be doing everything possible to ensure that the media will be facilitated.

"It's important that we are all seen to be singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to the marketing," declares Feeney.

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