FORMER Leitrim and Dublin star Declan Darcy has thrown his weight behind Proposal B ahead of this Saturday’s Special Congress while insisting that the “needs of the players must be met”.
arcy, a selector during Jim Gavin’s all-conquering reign as Dublin football boss, acknowledges that the league-based championship proposal is not perfect, but he feels that it is a step in the right direction as it caters for all counties’ needs.
“There’s a lot of layers to be considered within the GAA and a lot of people to be facilitated so getting a right decision is always going to be a problem, there’s never going to be a right decision but I do think that debate is critical,” Darcy told OTB AM.
“For me, it all comes back to the players, what their needs are and facilitating their needs so that they can function as best they can in a broader scale as opposed to a narrower scale of the elite of the elite.
“Predominantly, this is to facilitate and encourage the lower end of the teams that are participating in our championships and our Leagues and I think it is in the right direction. Is it perfect? No, but nothing is going to be perfect.
“But it’s certainly in the right direction and it’s certainly shining a light on the players that would be perceived to not be in the higher end of teams and I think that’s really, really important for us as an organisation going forward, to take care of everybody.”
Darcy, a former member of the Fixtures Review Committee, also admits that there are several “layers of diplomacy within the GAA” in order for a decision as seismic as Proposal B to gain the necessary 60 per cent to be passed.
The 1994 Connacht SFC-winning skipper insists that change is imminent even if Proposal B doesn’t get the green light this weekend as he acknowledges that “something is going to have to happen” to fix a broken structure.
“Regardless of whether it gets through or not, it’s on the agenda and it’s only a matter of time before something does get through. If I was a team in Division 3 or 4, I’d be pretty proud of our organisation that they’re at least suggesting…that they’re acknowledging us as teams and players but also trying to find a way that will make it better for us,” Darcy added.
“We all know there’s challenges here but that’s really, really important for a player that’s in Leitrim at the minute, that they know that the organisation is at least trying to facilitate his needs so that he can compete and play at a meaningful level.
“I think that’s really, really important. Will it get through? I’m not sure, it’ll be tight, it’s always very tight in these votes but at least it has shone a light on this issue.
“And I think if we continue to shine a light on the issue, I’ve no doubt whether it’s next year or the year after, something is going to have to happen, we all know it’s not right and we need to fix it.”
As regards whether Dublin will support Proposal B given that their Leinster dominance provides them with a clearer path to All-Ireland success than a new structure would, Darcy also believes that there is an appetite for change in the capital.
He insists that the cream will always rise to the top no matter what competition structures are in place and stresses that the needs of the majority are far more important than what serves a few counties best.
“We’re not foolish either. We know when we play a team and we beat them by 20 or 25 points, yeah you might have done well but there’s other impactors there and it’s not right either. They’re not foolish either,” Darcy said.
“We’re all Gaels, we wall want to see the system better so I don’t think there’ll be any agenda from Dublin to beholden the existing format just for their better needs.
“Because the reality is, the top teams in general in competition, in sport always rise to the top no matter what the rules are and I don’t think that’ll be any different no matter what rules change in the GAA format.”