Shanley vows to carry on the fight to preserve funding for Dublin coaching
NEWLY elected Dublin GAA chairman Seán Shanley has vowed to fight for every cent of the capital's central allocation towards coaching and games development.
Recommendations to reduce Dublin's level of funding from Croke Park "in the interests of equalisation" emerged last autumn, the inference being that Donnycarney HQ enjoyed an unfair advantage over smaller counties given its ability to attract lucrative sponsorship deals.
At the time, Andy Kettle vigorously defended the contribution of Dublin GAA's 50-plus full-time coaches. Now Shanley, who was elected unopposed on Monday night to fill the void left by Kettle's untimely death, has taken up the same baton - while confirming that Dublin's level of funding for 2015 "stays as it is, for now."
"The status quo has to stay," he told The Herald. "If a county or a team is successful, they get better sponsorship - yes. But any money that Dublin is getting from central funds is going into coaching, and we have a huge population.
"We still have parts of the county where we haven't got GAA clubs. That's a goal. We've got to get our club in every parish. There's still a few new areas of Dublin where we haven't infiltrated."
Shanley expanded: "Dublin have so many GPOs all around the county, and that's where that money is going directly. And that was negotiated between Dublin and government … none of that money is going to train the Dublin senior hurling or senior football team. That's purely for coaching of juveniles."
His predecessor oversaw four years of unprecedented silverware, in both codes and at most levels. Shanley accepted that success has spawned problems for the Dublin club scene - problems he wants tackled through the creation of a more compact inter-county scene.
This has been promised with the planned introduction of a calendar season from 2016, when the All-Ireland club finals will be brought forward to December. Dublin's new chairman believes this ambitious target is achievable and also "much fairer" for the clubs involved.
"Success at inter-county puts fierce pressure on club games. If the Dublin footballers and hurlers are involved 'til September, we have very little time to play our local championship," he admitted.
"Clubs are giving out, they don't have access to their county players; they've been playing with the county since January in the O'Byrne Cup and Walsh Cup.
"We'll have to get at Central Council to squeeze the inter-county season, have it more compact. Three and four weeks between games in championship is ridiculous. If it was only the fortnight, we'd have much more time to play club championship."
The Donnycarney man grew up "right beside Parnell Park" and played senior hurling and football for Craobh Chiaráin before serving as a senior Dublin hurling selector under Lar Foley in the '90s. He'll be in Nowlan Park this Sunday cheering on Ger Cunningham's Sky Blue crew and admits he has always been more into hurling but will "have to equally love both now!"