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Joe Kernan: GAA players are role models and need to remember that

Much has been made of the fact that Tómas O Sé and Paul Galvin have been missing from the Kerry line-up lately and that this has contributed to their exit from the All Ireland Championship.

But while there has been lamenting in the Kingdom about what is perceived as the harsh treatment both have received at the hands of the Central Competitions Control Committee, the fact remains that county players are role models on and off the field.

In much the same way as indiscretions by Premiership stars such as John Terry, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole and Steven Gerrard tend to be highlighted in the media, prominent GAA players can expect their actions to be subjected to much the same scrutiny.

This of course places a huge burden of responsibility on the players but this goes with the territory.

When I was fortunate enough to secure a few All Ireland Club titles during my time as manager of Crossmaglen Rangers, I always made a point of telling the players when we were leaving the Carrickdale Hotel following our post-match meal that I did not want to hear any lurid stories the following morning pertaining to over-celebrating.

To be fair, I never did. There is a duty on managers to ensure that their players toe the line at all times. The cry will go up that the players are ‘only amateurs’ and should be allowed to lead their own lives — and I could not agree more with this. But it’s important that they lead their lives within the context of what the GAA actually stands for — and if they find difficulty with this then they will only become a burden to their club or county.

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