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Eoghan Corry: GAA needs to see the bigger picture on fun Friday nights at Croke Park

WHAT don't the GAA get about marketing?

Here we are, well into the 21st century and the powers that be at Croke Park are still operating in the dark ages.

They used to say that the GAA was an amateur organisation run by professionals... not so.

It will remain a one-eyed amateur group unless it starts to look at the big picture and starts realising the potential of big Dubs nights at Croke Park.



Ultimate

This match with Mayo on March 18 was supposed to be the ultimate TGIF night out.

The club finals on Thursday, the Dublin-Mayo match on Friday and the rugby international on Saturday.

But no. The GAA blocked it.

Why? Player welfare? When you see the words "player" and "welfare" being cited by the committee that run the GAA you know you can hear the dull thud of an issue being kicked into touch somewhere in the background.

The possibility of having to pay compensation for wages? Not a runner either.

The advent of midweek matches has inconvenienced players.

But the same considerations that stopped this game are not being allowed to cloud the holding of fixtures on four successive Wednesday nights in the U-21 championship.

A Monaghan player travelling to Derry for a Wednesday evening fixture has as much inconvenience as anyone from Mayo travelling to Croker on Friday night next.

There are players who travel 100 miles for a Wednesday night Junior B fixture in Donegal who don't even leave their own county.

And most of them don't even get travelling expenses. Players play. That's what they do. And no amount of griping by the GPA can alter the mindset of the footballers who have a dream to pursue.



Cost

So what really is going on? The cost of opening the stadium and paying stewards? We won't really know because the decision has been obfuscated with problems which only become problems when nobody wants to nail them down.

The GAA, like everyone else in the market place of sporting entertainment, faces serious challenges.

The spring series was one of the brightest, freshest ideas to have hit Irish sport in a long time. It was an idea which was working.

Making a National League match the meat in a sandwich of big time sport seems like a no-brainer.

Unless a no-brains got to veto the idea.