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CPA already wielding much more influence than the GPA

By Declan Bogue

The manager of Clare football club Kilmurry Ibrickane, Aidan Moloney, has caused a minor stir for the winter by issuing a threat to withdraw his club's players from the Clare senior football squad if they are not made available on a year-round basis.

It's the sort of thing that must drive Clare football manager Colm Collins mad after all the progress they have made under the Cratloe man in recent years.

He's trying to drive ambition in the Banner County and has had to go to war on a number of fronts, not least in order to utilise the services of his son Podge, a star of Clare's 2013 All-Ireland hurling final win, in the big ball code.

And we suspect that Moloney has not taken this decision lightly. Odhran O'Dwyer, one of the most respected Clare footballers of his generation, is in Moloney's management team, and his dedication to his county was absolute.

But it is just the latest flare-up in the ongoing war between club and county that every single player and manager, bar the county bosses themselves, are caught up in.

Just last weekend, Joe Brolly noted in his Sunday Independent column that an anonymous player from an Ulster county had been in touch "to say that the senior manager had called a meeting of the 'extended panel' - that's a group of players not in last year's panel - with an interest in playing football for the county. At it, they were told that they would not be able to play or train with their clubs until the Championship was over, they could not play university football…"

You might understand the wishes of the county manager in this particular instance. They want everyone to be together and on the same page.

But they are only protecting themselves, not the players. Just another thing for the Gaelic Players' Association to link up with the Club Players' Association over when they meet again.

Perhaps one of the eight proposals of the CPA to Congress might go some way towards fixing it, but how striking is it that the group, not in existence for a full year, are having so much more influence as a force for good among the wider playing base than the GPA?

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