At the launch of the St. Finbarr’s Hurling Coaching Manual at the club recently, I was reminded yet again that the club is firmly at the heart of the GAA. This particular club has produced many Cork hurlers and footballers over the years, a selection of whom were present on the night including Gerald McCarthy, Ger Cunningham, John Allen, and of course, Jimmy Barry-Murphy, who launched the plan. All spoke of the importance of the club, and the memories shared of past great coaches and so on all centred around the club. I was particularly moved by Eamonn Fitzpatrick’s reading of his own memories of growing up as a Barrs player, which are echoed in so many clubs around the country. There is no doubt that one of the biggest challenges for the GAA at present is balancing the central position of the club in the Association with the commercial and financial goals of its management.

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