With Westmeath’s James Dolan the latest Gaelic footballer to announce his decision to go to America for the summer Shane Curran feels the GAA need to do something if they want to stop more inter-county stars from the lower divisions heading across the Atlantic to play football.
Speaking on this week’s episode of Super8s podcast Curran said: “Until we get our act and our house in order and have proper competition structures.the prospect of a semi-professional/professional game in America,thriving, becomes more and more apparent. While at home players are struggling to get their mileage and whatever else in the weaker counties. I think they are great to go. You have to congratulate the diaspora in America that bring over the players and pay them their few quid.”
Curran thinks some form of payment or work that could support players’ careers would help players remain in Ireland: “It would be actually great if we could pay players here. Maybe a few quid to keep them here over the summer. Or get them jobs that could support their careers; whether it’d be coaching or that or even play games. I think if you had a game structure that allowed them to stay at home they wouldn’t be necessarily wanting to travel.”
The former Roscommon footballer knows exactly the appeal America has for players and why they choose to travel: “The lure of America. The lure of going to the Chicagos, the Bostons, the San Franciscos, the New Yorks. Man! You can’t blame them for going and enjoying themselves and have a bit of craic. They can make a few quid and maybe get themselves through college on that few pound.”
Curran explained the current situation with club football in Roscommon and why the new structures don’t encourage players to stay around for the summer: “There is no club football here. In Roscommon there is no club football really from May through to September say for a few league games and players won’t stay for that. They want to get out and they want to enjoy themselves. Good luck to them.”