WWN has learned that a GAA player who has started to question why the people working at the turnstiles of the stadium are making more money from the sport than he does has been told to have a bit of pride in himself and his sport by people who have never kicked a ball in their life.
Fergal O’Mahoney, who plays corner forward for Ballymassen Kickhams, brought up the topic after a particularly bruising clash in the final of the Fr. Finbar Stack Cup against hated rivals Aughnamassen Crokes, attended by some 6,000 fans. Upon hearing a GAA player bring up the notion of being paid for their efforts, he was quickly hushed down by a series of people who think it’s perfectly acceptable for players to make less money than people selling the Big Issue.
“A few of my mates were heading out for a few pints after the game” said O’Mahoney, who has been unemployed for 4 years.
“I said I couldn’t because I was pure broke. I hang around with one of the lads who works the turnstiles at the pitch, and he said he’d sub me a few quid because he just got paid. I asked, how is it you’re getting paid when I’m the one out there getting the shit knocked out of me every Sunday? That’s when everyone told me to have a bit of pride in my jersey and not be so fuckin’ money-hungry”.
The amateur status of the GAA has long been a source of great pride for the Irish, especially among those who don’t play any sport in the slightest. Motivated by the love of the game, players train several nights each week for months, devoting themselves to the sport in return for zero pay, although most wouldn’t mind a few bob if they’re being honest. However, with an annual revenue of €55 million from gate receipts, advertising deals and broadcasting rights, the GAA are in no state to reward the players who bring in that cash, as explained by taxi driver and general know-it-all Packie Halloran.
“Any GAA player looking for money should be ashamed of himself,” said Halloran, who regularly pays €30 to attend matches in Croke Park.
“Do they think they’re Gareth Bale or someone like that? It’s a disgrace, thinking that they should get some sort of compensation for the time and effort they put in. There’s not another sporting organization that big in the world which doesn’t pay its competitors, and as someone who sacrifices nothing to the running of it, I think that’s something we should be proud of”.