Tyrone will again reinforce their powerful opposition to the GPA at this weekend’s Annual Congress in Newcastle.
The GAA may have signed a deal with the GPA earlier in the year, but that won’t prevent Tyrone bringing a motion to Congress expressing their anger and abhorrence at the controversial move.
Kildress’s Mark Conway has always been a GAA man through and through, but he has remained a long time opponent of the GPA.
“What brought the GAA to where it is today is a fundamental notion of equality,” he said.
“The person who sweeps out the dressing room is as important as the boy or girl who plays on All Ireland final day. That’s the brilliant dynamic that runs through the very heart of the sport and which has served us well since its formation in 1884.”
Conway stoutly rejects the notion that he’s anti-player.
“Anyone who knows the GAA in Tyrone would need their head examined if they said the GAA was anti-player,” he added.
“We have approximately 50 clubs in Tyrone, everyone of them accommodating on average at least 40 adult players.
“We have about 35 adult county players and less than that on the hurling side.
“In Tyrone when we talk about a player we talk about a player, a GAA player whether you have three All Ireland medals in your pocket or whether you are the worst player who ever stepped on to a pitch.
“You deserve the respect. You deserve the support, you deserve the encouragement, regardless of what level you play at.”
Football in Tyrone has never been in a more healthy state and Conway is adamant that it’s all down to their holistic approach. But he’s genuinely concerned with the GAA’s decision to take out the elite of the elite and treat them as a special case.
“What the GAA is proposing to do is to recognise an organisation as the voice of inter county players,” he said.
“The GAA has already awarded them £1.7m for this year alone.
“You could say the GAA is like the Anglo Irish Bank, using our money to bail out a private company.”