CONOR MCKEON – 30 JULY 2013 02:30 PM
DUBLIN GAA chairman Andy Kettle has plainly rejected suggestions that monetary handouts have driven the county’s recent hurling reawakening.
“There’s not a massive investment gone into Dublin hurling,” Kettle insisted. “What has gone into Dublin hurling has gone into clubs through GPOs (games promotion officers), basically.
“The amount of money is not huge. There’s no specific amount of money that I could quote you that’s gone into Dublin hurling. There is no money set aside each year to go into the promotion of Dublin hurling.”
Kettle explained that all monies received from the county board for the promotion of the game from Leinster Council were “ring-fenced for hurling” and spent solely on “hurling equipment for hurling coaching”.
At present, there are approximately 50 GPOs promoting and coaching both hurling and football in the capital and currently, senior hurling panel members Johnny McCaffrey, Simon Lambert, David O’Callaghan and Niall Corcoran are all employed in that capacity.
Each are funded partly by the clubs with whom they work and partly by funds from Leinster and the Dublin county board, in a 50/50 split.
“There’s nothing secretive or there’s nothing extraordinary about the Dublin model,” insisted Kettle. “Like, the question that’s being asked … is could what’s happening in Dublin be replicated in other counties?
“I would say ‘yes it can’, but it takes hard work to do it. It takes commitment to do it and the commitment is still at the volunteer level in clubs.
“Yes, there’s a professionalism in it as regards the GPOs and development officers and such.
“But the real main commitment is still at volunteer level in clubs and there’s a huge commitment there in Dublin.
“Yes, there’s not a doubt in the world that the (development) squad model has played it’s part, anything like that can be replicated.
“It’s probably replicated around the country, but we probably started a little earlier,” Kettle added.
“We’re probably trying to stay one step ahead of the posse in different things we’re doing. But that’s the nature of sport.”
Kettle, speaking at a press briefing by the Dublin senior hurlers ahead of their All-Ireland semi-final clash with Cork on August 11, also confirmed that manager Anthony Daly’s tenure was up at the end of this season and that no discussions over an extension were likely before the conclusion of the current year.
However, it is hugely improbable that the county board would not seek to retain Daly’s services for a sixth season having secured a first Leinster title for the capital since 1961.
And with Clare also currently experiencing a lift under Davy Fitzgerald after booking their place in the last four of the All-Ireland with victory over Galway in Thurles on Sunday, the prospect of Daly returning to manage his native county for a second stint – a stated ambition – appears several years off yet.
Kettle, meanwhile, insisted that it remained the county board’s intention to have successfully concluded their search for a new primary sponsor “before the All-Irelands finals”, adding that Dublin’s presence in the deciding stages of both the senior football and hurling championships is “certainly not hindering the process”.
He reiterated that it was still Dublin’s hope to secure a similarly lucrative deal to the one hatched with Vodafone which will expire at the end of this season and that the new deal is likely to include sponsorship of both the ladies footballers and camogie team.
“The hurlers have become a definite bonus,” Kettle admitted, “and what we have negotiated is that we have spoken to the Dublin ladies and Dublin camogie, so the whole family will be available to a potential sponsor on this occasion, rather than having the sponsorship diluted by different brands on different jerseys. That’s a first.”
The Vodafone deal, which came into being for the 2009 season, made the mobile phone network the sole shirt sponsors for the county’s senior, under-21 and minor teams in both football and hurling.
Currently, the Dublin ladies football team are sponsored by Elvery’s, while meat processing company Olhausen back the camogie side.
“It would not be our preferred option to have two different sponsors,” added Kettle of the prospect of utilising the new multi-sponsor rule, adopted at Congress this year.
“Our preferred option would be a single sponsor.
“I’m not saying that depending on whatever business that sponsor would be in, that they couldn’t use a sub product of their own on the back of the jersey.
“It’s difficult, sponsors are rightly demanding and it’s difficult to fulfil their demands with a group of amateur players,” he added.
“If you were to multiply that by two, you would be creating quite a few headaches for yourself.”