Colm O'Rourke: GPA going wrong by not focusing on "the playing end of things" above all

Meath legend speaks to Off The Ball

Colm O'Rourke,

Colm O’Rourke ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Meath football legend Colm O'Rourke has criticised the Gaelic Players Association, saying that they have gone wrong by not fully-focusing on playing issues like the fixtures and championship structures debate.  

The Sunday Game analyst had been critical of the player's body in his Irish Independent column ahead of a week when the GPA signalled its disappointment with the GAA over its proposals on Off The Ball.

O'Rourke was on Off The Ball tonight for an in-depth chat about his legendary playing career, but also touched on the GPA and the pressure on modern GAA players. 

"I think the most important thing surrounding any union is a vision for the playing of the games and it has to start with a proper fixtures plan," he said.

 

"Now, they've made no progress in their years of existence in doing anything about that and what they are getting wrong in my opinion is they're putting the cart before the horse. A lot of the problems with a lot of stress, anxiety and everything else emanating from games is due to the fact of an improperly planned games structure which puts too much pressure on young players, where there's far too much training and where it's interfering with their own personal lives. For me, the tackling of the fixtures issue is central to a lot of the health and wellbeing issues that the GPA trumpet that they are about and nobody will argue with that end of it. Anybody who's helping in areas of mental wellbeing are to be commended. But that's not their role. Their role should be to look after the playing end of things and with that and a properly planned structure, a lot of the other problems I think could be lessened."