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GPA must shout even louder to get their message across

By Declan Bogue

The biggest gathering of inter-county footballers and hurlers met for the Gaelic Players Association annual chinwag and Annual General Meeting at the weekend.

Witnesses there spoke of a playing base that are - as well as being fashion-forward, with swanky shoes and blazers everywhere - a grouping to be reckoned with.

To be a GPA rep for your county requires a number of qualities, but most especially an appreciation of your team mates. Not everybody would be pushed on giving up their spare time to deal with the concerns of team mates.

Indeed, our contact in the room said that the only questions out of team mates afterwards were: "When are we getting our gear?" and "When is the grant due?"

That's the way it is with most people. For the vast majority, the GPA is a feet-rubbing service.

They barely notice it is there for the most part, but if you were to take away the key services there would be some uproar.

Now that we are in the midst of County Convention season, the thoughts of county secretaries suddenly assume grave importance.

Derry secretary Danny Scullion had a few choice remarks to make about the latest deal struck between the GAA and the GPA.

Even after all this time, you sense that the GPA still have not got their message across and that the vast majority of the playing population and managers support them in their aims.

The GPA are now set to make a high-profile appointment to replace outgoing chief executive Dessie Farrell (left), the former Dublin All-Star.

This is certainly their big opportunity to change the perception of the GPA for generations to come.

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