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How many have shut their doors for the last time this past 25 or 50 years? Very few. It's the same in England, where lower league clubs are regularly reported to be on the financial brink and yet they invariably struggle on, manfully, against all odds. They may be financial black holes but it is usually the money that disappears into the inky darkness: the clubs themselves almost always stay clinging on to the precipice. Until the next emergency, bailout and reprieve.
A small country thinking we're in the big leagues
two officials, excellent administrators and dyed in the wool GAA men, were dampening down the suggestion that the Sky deal had somehow taken the body further down the road to professionalism Nike More Uptempo Footlocker
or rack and ruin, depending on how you view these things. All this while O'Shea was welcoming the historic TV deal while predicting it was just another step towards a future of merged counties, franchises and players earning salaries for their toil in the jersey.
Here's the thing: had the Mayo footballer been sitting in Aviva Stadium wearing a Jako, Warrior or adidas team shirt rather than one manufactured by O'Neills or Azzurri, his words would have rung just as true.
O'Shea was bang on the money when pointing out that the economies of scale on this little island simply Nike Air More Uptempo Qs Chicago cannot, and never will, support the amount of entities which exist in the GAA and the same can be said for soccer and rugby, both of whom are also awash with clubs. But then this is quite clearly a battle between heart and mind and it is nigh on impossible to envisage a scenario of the massive change the big midfielder called for when it would be a case of asking people to relinquish their ties with clubs and/or counties which have been representing them and their kin since the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
down with Aidan O'Shea in Croke Park earlier this week, it was impossible to avoid the contrast between the words escaping the Mayo footballer's mouth and what was transpiring just across the River Liffey in Leinster House, where Paraic Duffy and Liam O'Neill were appearing before an Oireachtas committee.
The Setanta Sports Cup was a hugely welcome addition to the footballing landscape at the time of its arrival but it has been existing on life support for far too long now. The four semi finalists playing this week Dundalk also entertained Shamrock Rovers in Oriel Park have been on a Monday Friday Monday treadmill now virtually since the start of the season. That makes little or no sense as a business model. Spectators, of course, have largely voted with their feet by gazing resolutely in the opposite direction but it is merely a symptom of the problem rather than the nub of it.
The GAA director general and president were called in to explain their decision to award 14 championship games exclusively live to Sky in the wake of howls and wails that the association had sold its soul. The Nike Air Max Uptempo Cool Grey
The 'Big Three' divvied up a cool 7.4m all told, and they were worth every penny, given the numbers of people they attract to a healthy lifestyle and the knock on effects their input has for the economy and the general health of the nation.
For those of us who possess a catholic taste in sports, it may also be interesting to note that O'Shea was speaking the morning after a Setanta Sports Cup semi final second leg between St Patrick's Athletic and Sligo Rovers at Inchicore's Stadium of Light which, by all accounts, "attracted" something in the region of 500 people to the ground that evening.
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Those three organisations, like every single national governing body in Ireland, must jump through all sorts of hoops to avail of that and other Government sourced funding.
Yet, here we are, still trying to kid ourselves that Leitrim can exist on the same plane as the Dublin footballers, that the capital can support five vibrant soccer clubs and that Dolphin making an 820km round trip to play Ballynahinch makes some sort of sense. Who are we kidding?Irish Examiner Ltd.
Transparency clauses, good governance rules, child safety regulations: you name it, they have to adhere to it, and rightly so.
As this column and many, many others have argued before, the League of Ireland under all its recent sponsorship guises is a concept awash with teams and competitions and yet one devoid of the economic sense to realise that the system is broken beyond repair at a fundamental level.
Clubs, and indeed, counties have proven themselves remarkably resilient organisms, regardless of their code.
It was interesting then, that O'Shea should have made his comments in a week where the GAA, FAI and IRFU were handed their annual grant from the Irish Sports Council to develop their grassroots initiatives.
For soccer, as it is with GAA, the lesson must be that less would be more.
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