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Duffy's modernising legacy at helm will stand test of time

By Declan Bogue

If we could briefly stay with technology and all its evils for just one more minute, we should add that stupid people have always been stupid, but technology just gives that stupidity a wider audience.

You only have to scan the internet for some of the assertions that greeted the announcement that Páraic Duffy would be stepping down as Director-General of the GAA in March 2018.

There are some who believe he is part of some dark cabal that is determined to turn the GAA into another arm of the entertainment industry.

Duffy has become a target in the post-truth era, when it doesn't matter if you fact-check or provide a level of balance, all that counts is your ability to whip up the mob with empty rhetoric and then stick your fingers in your ears when counter-arguments are proffered.

Words like 'capitalist' are flung at Duffy over the GAA's arrangement with Sky TV, as if this is a major issue. Those slinging words like that about should try and live in a Communist Utopia like, eh, China? It's a pity, because the vast good that Duffy did for the GAA is in danger of being overshadowed - not in the long term as his track record stands up for itself, but at least in the short term.

Consider this. When his predecessor Liam Mulvihill retired after 28 years in the job, Ireland, Europe and most of the world was about to enter financial meltdown.

During Duffy's eleven years at the tiller, the revenue generated by the GAA has doubled. But the attention afforded to the GAA's Director-General has exploded in multiples.

Perhaps there is an issue with that wealth and how it can be distributed.

Nobody, not least Duffy himself, would dispute that.

But it's good to have all the same. And if the cost of running teams and training centres and so on has got out of control, this is down to individual county boards and the demands they place upon themselves.

In terms of controlling what he could, Duffy provided more imagination than most in the GAA.

The restructuring of inter-county competitions will always be a work in progress, but once it gets going you will be hard-pressed to find anyone that would disapprove of the 'Super 8s' in action, whatever about the new hurling format.

If the job of Director-General is one of providing stability, then Duffy did his job extremely well.

If you still think differently, just ask yourself if the balance sheet had have shown a loss?

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