Former Roscommon All Star and senior team manager Paul Earley says that he is “not convinced” by the need to run inter-county GAA championships this year.
The former Michael Glavey’s man also says that the fact that his older brother Dermot is still remembered so fondly ten years after his passing is a major consolation to his family.
Speaking to the Roscommon People at the weekend, Paul, who now lives in Co. Kildare and is a prominent GAA analyst on Sky Sports, says that the GAA’s handling of the pandemic has been good.
“There was criticism over the first couple of months that the association were slow in reopening their facilities but they adopted a ‘safety first’ attitude and that was the right way to go. There are so many people involved in the association of all ages that they had to be very careful about reopening their facilities” he said.
Paul says that the association were right to resume games with club action. “It is great that the clubs are back in training and will be soon to be able to play (competitive) matches. 100% of GAA players are club players and they definitely should have been given priority” he said.
The former Roscommon star is however not certain that there is a need to play All-Ireland Championships this year. “I am still not convinced that we need to play an inter-county championship this year. If it works out it will be great, but playing big championship games in October and November in poor weather and in front of very small crowds – or none – will be very strange and I am not sure how that will work, to be honest. Let’s see how the club championships work out first”.
Mr. Earley is currently the manager of the Celbridge Ladies Senior team and he has seen huge enthusiasm since the players returned to training.
He maintains that the GAA should be able to shoulder the huge financial loss this year – as long as things can return to normal.
“The association will just have to deal with the (financial) situation as best they can. I would say that the decision to run the inter-county championships is partly based on financial considerations. But as long as this situation lasts for just this year, the association should be able to weather the storm.
“The Government will have a role to play too. The GAA is a massive community-based organisation that has done marvellous work over the decades. We have seen that especially during the pandemic and hopefully there will be funding there to support that work to enable the association to move forward” he said.
Paul says that the Earley family are uplifted by the continuing warmth which is constantly shown to the memory of his brother Dermot, who passed away ten years ago last week.
“It is remarkable that it is ten years since Dermot passed away and there is hardly a day goes by that I don’t hear another story about him and the way he touched people in different ways. A lot of those stories come from outside the GAA as well.
“He was such a hero and role model for so many people and it is humbling to know that so many people have such respect for his ideals and his values. It certainly doesn’t seem like ten years since he passed away.
“It is fantastic to see the enduring respect that people have for him, not alone in Roscommon and in the GAA, but in all walks of life – and throughout the country and beyond” he concluded.