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GAA cannot go pro: Donegal boss Jim McGuinness

By John Campbell

Donegal manager Jim McGuinness has rubbished the theory that the GAA could embrace pay-for-play in the foreseeable future.

McGuinness, whose team will face Laois in an important All Ireland qualifier tomorrow in front of a modest 7,000 capacity crowd in Carrick-on-Shannon, is adamant that the structure of the GAA itself, Ireland's population and the fact that the sport does not have a real international dimension mitigate against professionalism as such.

While there is a feeling in certain quarters that the leading counties attract the kind of crowds which could facilitate a pay for play policy, McGuiness does not buy into this.

"If there were a sustainable model for remunerating the players while protecting the values of the Association maybe this could be looked at.

"But I think it's a case of chimney pots – we don't have enough of them in Ireland to support two more professional sports in rugby and GAA," points out McGuinness.

"There are no lucrative European competitions to qualify for, no hurling or football World Cup to drip-feed money down to the Association. Rugby in Ireland is working well as a professional sport because of the international dimension that the GAA doesn't have."

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