Belfast Telegraph

Monday 5 October 2015

Joe Kernan: GAA has duty to help friends in need overseas

Published 01/04/2011

At a time when players are leaving county squads — All Ireland football champions Cork have lost four already this month — there is a greater onus on the GAA authorities to ensure that those players who remain committed to their counties are well looked after.

It is a difficult task for all managers to keep a 30-strong squad happy — after all, a team boss can only start 15 players.

And when players do not get regular football, especially in an environment that is not conducive to good team spirit, then they will walk way.

Some players can put considerable distance between themselves and the GAA. Take the case of Fermanagh player Mark Murphy.

He left for Australia some time ago and is now to all intents and purposes quite happy with life in Sydney.

Indeed, he is still in the GAA fold under a different guise. The talented midfielder-cum-full-forward is now involved with the Cusacks club in Sydney who have a problem that is shared by a number of clubs here — they have no money.

Yet they are anxious to acquire their own playing pitch rather than having to train and prepare for matches against the eight other sides in the city on a public park.

Murphy is among club members who have pleaded this week for help from Croke Park and I believe that due attention should be paid to their request.

The GAA prides itself on being a global family and I would like to see the Overseas Committee at Croke Park act to help the Cusacks. They need urgent funding for facilities and coaching and they should not be left to row their own boat.

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