Wednesday 13 December 2017

Rebel rages that Cork left him with €7k medical bill

A FORMER Cork inter-county footballer forced to retire through injury has claimed that Cork GAA officials "washed their hands" of him, leaving him €7,000 out of pocket.

Diarmuid Duggan, 31, has gone public with details of his two-year battle to recoup the costs of his €10,000 medical bill.

In the end, he received €3,000 from the GPA's benevolent fund but nothing from his own county board.

"The diagnosis from the surgeon in Coventry was that the (hip) injury was brought on as a result of strenuous inter-county training," he complained.

"My injury occurred when I was playing for Cork. I don't think it's right that once you're gone, you end up on the scrapheap."

The Cork board had previously paid for an operation in March 2009, but this failed to cure the problem and Duggan voluntarily left Conor Counihan's panel in July that year in an effort to regain fitness, incurring costs of €10,000 in the process.

A Cork official has insisted Duggan "benefitted fully" from the GAA's player accident scheme and that a second claim, not covered by the scheme, was sent to Croke Park where an ex-gratia payment was made from the players' benevolent fund.

The Ilen Rovers clubman -- who has been left with arthritis and faces a hip replacement in the future -- has also revealed the contents of a lengthy letter penned to Cork secretary Frank Murphy at the end of 2010.

He writes: "When I left the panel as a result of the injury, I regret to say that as far as I was concerned the county board washed their hands completely clean of it, offering no financial help whatsoever.

"Was it a case that even though I got injured playing with a Cork team, I was no longer needed and therefore not worth the hassle or the money?"

The letter adds: "Were I to end up getting no financial help, I still don't see myself as someone who would lambast the GAA at every chance. However, now finding myself in this unfortunate situation, it's certainly far easier to empathise with those who mockingly call the GAA the 'Grab All Association'."

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