FORMER MONAGHAN SELECTOR Declan Brennan has revealed plans to establish a Club Players Association (CPA) – and revealed that he’s received over 10,000 messages from interested parties wishing to contribute.
The CPA’s goal is to ensure a voice for club players across the country, with particular emphasis on the fixtures schedule which often sees them without games for weeks and months on end as the inter-county season is in progress.
Brennan, regarded as the driving force behind Dublin City University’s first Sigerson Cup win in 2006, is also a four-time county SFC winning manager with Clontibret, with whom he won two titles as a player.
Brennan worked alongside former Meath star Colm Coyle when he was Monaghan manager and after a stint with DCU, he worked with Ulster University (Jordanstown) for two years at Sigerson Cup level.
Brennan is planning to hold a national meeting “within the next three to four weeks”, where plans will be formalised for the establishment of the CPA.
He revealed: “At that meeting, we intend to send out the message out in relation to what we’re about, and where we’re going with this as an organisation.
“We don’t necessarily see ourselves setting something up in stone for years ahead. It’s more to identify the problems at the moment, and put forward what we think should be done.
“If we’re not listened to, we feel from talking to people and getting the air at the moment, that there is player power on the club scene, and we’ll try to do something about it.
“We need to help the administrators in Croke Park, who have so much bureaucracy and red tape to go through, that they can’t manage it.
“It has to come from the players themselves. They have to drive this over the line.
“They want time off, and they want to play football at decent times of the year.
“I see no difference between the club and county player – they’re all putting in the same effort at this moment in time, and deserve the same respect.
“This is not about me,” Monaghan native Brennan stressed. “I’m not involved with anybody at this moment in time and don’t intend to be but I suppose, over the years, I’ve witnessed a lot of things going on and it’s come to a head over the last number of months.”
It was reported earlier this year that Down legend Conor Deegan was considering setting up a group similar to the GPA, to represent club players, and now Brennan has come forward with similar plans.
He said: “I’m not sure who was talking and I haven’t really been listening to what other people had in mind.
“I’m not going on this on a solo run. A number of people contacted me asking to get involved in some capacity.
“I felt the best way to would be to speculate on how much hurt and anxiety is out there, by a simple text, Facebook, email and social media.
“I’ve received over 10,000 messages, mostly from club players and there’s no point in saying from an official end of things.
“Club officials and county board officials, no, which is what I sort of expected.
“I was never fond of the administration end of things, I’ve always been involved in coaching and management.
“I have great respect for people who do that but it’s come to a head that they’re so far removed from the reality of what’s going on in the day-to-day situation with clubs.
“People are telling me they’re totally frustrated by the lack of respect, fixtures being put on at short notice.
“People are going to America for two or three months and missing very little and then at the end of the year, they’re playing through the gutters.
“Look at the Dublin situation, where lads were asked to play a week after the All-Ireland final. People need to wake up to this.”
Brennan’s business, DBSM Sports Management centre of excellence, is based in Castleshane, Monaghan.
Brennan and his team specialise in premier sports performance and injury rehabilitation.
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