Belfast Telegraph

Grassroots of county game suffers

By Declan Bogue

So, the county boards of Fermanagh and Cavan are going to have to come up with no less than €5,000 each after their schmozzle of a few weeks back.

Who comes up with this figure, and what are the methods?

Is the figure reached by tallying the tut-tuts of the spectators present?

Could it be calculated by the level of condemnation it receives on The Sunday Game highlights show?

Or, as many might feel is more likely, is it the same method that David Drumm used to come up with his €7 billion figure to bail out Anglo-Irish.

Either way, it solves nothing. On the night of that game, Fermanagh player Sean Quigley's path was obstructed a few times as he made his way off the pitch for half-time.

Players went in to deliberately rile him and this blanket financial punishment does not punish the perpetrators.

Their conduct was not reviewed or addressed since.

Instead, this punishes those that raise money for county board activities.

It punishes children who might otherwise have benefitted from having €5,000 around the place to help with a development squad.

It punishes the dying embers of the hurling wing in each county.

Hard enough as it is to get hurls and sliotars as it is, they can forget about it now.

We might have thought that putting a price on everything was at the heart of our problems.

How disheartening it is therefore that fines have become the basis of discipline in an amateur sporting organisation.

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