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Training ban stands, says GAA boss Cooney

GAA President Christy Cooney has fired a curt broadside at all counties now that the controversial November-December winter training ban will continue following a narrow defeat for a motion at the weekend Congress calling for it to be reduced to one month.

“Let’s stop codding ourselves,” rapped Cooney. “This ban is being flaunted and it is up to every county board to ensure that it is adhered to.”

The motion dealing with one of the most contentious issues had been tabled by the Portarlington club and, while several delegates were in favour of it, when the matter was put to a vote 54 per cent rejected it.

In a wide-ranging, straight from the shoulder address that struck a distinct chord with the 350 delegates, Cooney also reserved strong criticism for clubs and counties that continue to pay team managers sums which exceed the regulation expenses and also lashed those players and their county boards who show what he termed “a marked reluctance” to accept disciplinary penalties.

“All county boards must adhere to the GAA rules. I believe it is necessary now for all of us to take stock in an effort to find out if we can be the organisation we desire to be,” stated Cooney.

And he threatened that financial support would be withdrawn from those counties who break the rules “particularly those dealing with our amateur ethos.”

Cooney intends to translate his words into action by arranging a forum to be attended by county chairmen, secretaries, treasurers and county board delegates when the issue of the payment of managers will be the dominant topic.

Dealing with players and county boards who continue to challenge disciplinary penalties Cooney said: “I think it’s time that such players and their county boards showed some leadership and accountability.”

And in expressing disappointment that the recent joint initiative by the GAA and GPA had failed to achieve a breakthrough in the Fermanagh impasse, Cooney nonetheless made it clear that all county boards have the right to conduct their business as they see fit.

Belfast Telegraph

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