In my role as the CEO of the Gaelic Players Association (GPA), I take immense pride in the privilege of serving and representing the players. The GPA is an association that is driven by the players, led by the players, and exists for the players in all respects. Our unwavering commitment is directed towards advocating for the best interests of every inter-county player.

As inter-county players, you contribute an immeasurable amount of time, energy, commitment and effort to Gaelic games. Spending over 30 hours a week is a significant investment of your time to the inter-county game and, as the inter-county Games generates over 80% of the financial resources available for all GAA initiatives, it is imperative players are treated fairly and recognised. Progressing in your career or full-time study in tandem with all of life’s challenges is without doubt a significant and unique challenge for inter-county players given such commitment to the game.

Your dedication is not only deeply respected but is also a source of great admiration across Ireland and abroad. You serve as exemplary role models throughout Ireland, exemplifying the values and commitment that define the very essence of sport. However, your investment of time and contribution to the success of our games should never go unrecognised, and that is the GPA’s key role.

The role of the GPA in championing the voices of players and advocating for their welfare and rights is of paramount importance. We are witnessing a significant shift where players are actively participating in shaping the future of our games. In 2020, a resounding 99% of players voted to merge the GPA and Women’s GPA and in 2022, players brought a motion to the GAA Congress to prioritise integration and ensure equal investment, recognition, and opportunities for our female colleagues at all levels. This marked the beginning of transformative events, including similar motions passing at the Camogie Association and LGFA congresses. It also sparked the establishment the Integration Steering Committee, led by former President of Ireland Mary McAleese.

Integration and equal treatment of players is on the horizon and your collective voice have been instrumental in driving this positive change. When it comes to integration, I want to urge all commentators to recognise the incredible potential this opportunity holds. Too often, we hear influential voices talking about the challenges and hurdles, but we need to shift our focus to see the bigger picture and the opportunities that come with it.

Integration has the power to send a powerful message to the women and girls in our games. It tells them that they are unquestionably equal, that their contributions are greatly valued, and that their voices will be heard and respected.

Despite this positive changes towards integration. The lack of minimum standards for female players remains unacceptable. In 2022, 102 female players sought assistance from the GPA hardship fund due to the lack of essential supports, including travel expenses and access to various medical supports. It’s crucial for our National Governing Bodies including the GAA, and the Government to take action to address this issue now, alongside integration efforts. Addressing this remains a key priority for the GPA.

Load management continues to be a priority for the GPA.  Data from 2022 stated that just 8% of male players felt that the split season improved load management and offered an improved pre-defined off-season. It’s important we continue to address the contact time for inter-county players, but on the basis of sport science. Data shows the GPA/GAA contact hours policy has helped, but it’s clear we need to improve player conditions and ensure that an unfair amount of training, particularly in pre-season is not imposed on inter-county players.

Unfortunately, the ongoing efforts by the GPA to remove provincial pre-season competitions during the condensed split season continues to fall on deaf ears at GAA Central Council level. Recently Central Council has acknowledged the pressure of the condensed season.  However, following a thorough evaluation of various options, it was ultimately determined that taking no action was the preferred route for 2024.

What players need is leadership to tackle the number of games in a condensed period and once and for all to tackle the issue of multiple team eligibility for our Rookie Players, particularly in the months of January and February when players are engaged in third level competitions.

We have some great leaders within the GAA, LGFA and the Camogie Association. However, I continue to struggle with the mindset and sometimes negative attitudes towards Inter-County Players by some of the leadership within our sporting bodies. The GPA continue to lobby to re-instate the men’s All-Star tours that previously recognised the best players in our games. Instead of extending All-Star tours to the second-tier competitions, this important recognition initiative has been disbanded for the foreseeable future. I call upon the GAA to reinstate this initiative as it’s a symbol of recognition and respect for our best players.

On a positive note, the GPA’s commercial share with the GAA and the GPA’s valued commercial partners in Le Chéile mean we continue to help ensure inter-county players have access to best in class player development and educational programmes. It’s great that we continue to have increased engagement in our player development programme. Today, approximately 90% of all revenue the GPA receives goes directly to players. Our core spend is on vital educational scholarships, programmes and important player development/welfare services to help protect players and the amateur game.

I would like to thank our player development team for their unwavering commitment to our BEO360 player development programme. I would also like to thank our educational partners who cover over 50% of course fees of the Masters scholarships we award to players every year.  I strongly encourage players to continue to invest in your personal development off the field.  When the game is gone, through injury or retirement, it’s imperative that you have not sacrificed professional and personal development, something that is difficult when you commit so many hours to the inter-county game.

Lastly, there is no fault in aspiring to be elite athletes; striving for excellence is what ultimate success is in any endeavour and it’s entirely compatible with our commitment to the amateur game.

Despite the positive strides forward in the professional relationship between the GPA and the National Governing Bodies, it remains disheartening that some senior GAA leadership persist in attributing the growing costs associated with inter-county games to the players, especially considering that the average player’s expense claim per session stands at a mere €17, which is far from unreasonable given the return on that investment. Nevertheless, yearly data emerging reinforces the notion that players may be the last remaining amateurs within the realm of personnel involved in our inter-county games. I believe, in the current economic climate we need to do more for vulnerable players, especially students who often must forego part-time work to play and train for our inter-county game.

I extend my respect to the players for standing in unity and solidarity in ensuring a fair player charter was delivered for all players in 2022. The resolution of a fair charter for male players now serves as a vital tool to protect player welfare and to ensure fair treatment. In 2022, the Charter now served all players on the squad and not just the core 32. In 2022, 29% of male players experienced a 5-12week injury, which highlights the demands on the split season and the need for adequate panel sizes and rotation of playing time for players. In the new split season, one injury could rule a player out for an entire league or championship due to the condensed time period.  I would like to thank Neil McManus, Sean Murphy and the GAA negotiation team, in coming to a charter resolution in 2022.

On the female front, the charter will be pivotal to implementing positive changes for players.  Already players took a stand in 2023, and despite a formal commitment that helped pause the protest action, we still await the investment from the National Governing Bodies to deliver a player charter and minimum standards in 2024.

It’s important to note we greatly appreciate the government’s ongoing support for our players as we continue to advocate for equitable treatment for our female inter-county members.

In 2022, I was delighted to join the board of EU-Athletes and would like to thank them for their continuous guidance with respect to athlete human rights and fair treatment of inter-county players.

In today’s world, the impact we have on others cannot be underestimated. I would like to highlight the respect I have for inter-county players in this regard.  Over the past 2 years over 10,000 second level students have attended the GPA online leadership conference with players. In 2022, in collaboration with Alan Kerins and Self-Help Africa, over 50 Intercounty athletes undertook the remarkable task of planting one million trees in Africa, raising over €500,000 for this initiative; this is inspiring. Players continue to give countless hours, away from the pitch visiting local schools and inspiring the next generation to play our games and be active.

In closing, I wish to express our deep appreciation to everyone associated with the GPA, to our voluntary National Executive Committee, our President Donal Óg Cusack and our GPA Board chaired by Brian MacCraith, to our player representatives on every team, our valuable partners and donors, and to the dedicated GPA staff. Your unwavering passion and commitment to enhancing the lives of our members allow us to achieve positive outcomes for both the players and the game. The GPA will always be a player-led organisation with decisions made by players and for players and for the betterment of our games.



This annual report focusses on many of the highlights of the work carried out on behalf of you, the inter-county players, in 2022.  You will find details of what has been achieved throughout these pages, which give you a comprehensive overview of how your player association serves you.

However, 2022 will always be overshadowed for players by the deaths of three of our colleagues.  We want to take the opportunity here to remember Red Óg Murphy, Damian Casey and Dillon Quirke.

It is difficult to comprehend the loss of three such fine young men.  To each of you who have been impacted by their passing, and particularly those of you from Sligo, Tyrone and Tipperary, please remember that there are 24/7/365 supports available to you both on the phone or by text.  Grief is a very personal journey but never feel you are on your own while making it.

Phone the GPA Counselling Support Service in ROI on 1800 98 92 85 or from the North on 08000 44 40 49.  Alternatively, you can text “GPA” to 50808 (ROI) or 85258 (NI).

Even at this remove, there are no words of ours that will be of any consolation to the families of Red Óg, Damian and Dillon.  All we can say is that we will never forget them.  They will always be in our thoughts.  And when we think of them, we will always do so knowing that while they were known for their exploits on the playing fields of Ireland, they were and always will be your sons and your brothers and your loved ones first. If ever you need our assistance, we will always be here to support you.

Wherever our games are played, we’ll keep the memories of Red Óg, Damien and Dillon alive.  They were among the very best of us.

In Memory Of

Red Óg Murphy

(2000 to 2022)

Damian Casey

(1993 to 2022)

Dillon Quirke

(1998 to 2022)

Integration Motion to GAA

  • GPA motion to GAA congress on integration launched at GPA press conference
  • Motion: “The GAA shall prioritise integration with the LGFA and Camogie Association in order to jointly ensure equal investment, recognition and opportunity for all genders to play all sports in the Gaelic Games family.”
  • Passed with 90% support
  • Subsequently, same motion passed at LGFA congress and similar motion passed at Camogie congress, leading to establishment of Steering Group on Integration

GPA Governance & Supports

  • Motion at GPA AGM to reform NEC, from 16 member committee with 60/40 m/f split, to a 20 member committee with 50/50 m/f split. Passed unanimously.
  • Motion at GPA AGM to ringfence surplus funding for targeted support for female and vulnerable members. Passed unanimously.
  • Female hardship fund established to support female players in financial distress as a result of excess mileage cost or material medical expenses; 102 applications received.

LGBT Initiatives

    • LGBT sub-committee established
    • LGBT research among inter-county players:
      • 99% would support a teammate if they came out
      • 45% are aware of an LGBT teammate in their inter-county squad
    • GPA Pride breakfast to coincide with Dublin pride, attended by over 70 current and former inter-county players
    • GPA group participated in Dublin pride parade, marching alongside GAA, LGFA and Camogie Association representatives
    • Visibility campaign in conjunction with The Human Collective – players in every county wearing t-shirt and posting on social media to show support for LGBT community
    • Participated in the Gaelic Games Transgender working group .

Other Initiatives

  • Presented to the International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport conference on the GPA/WGPA integration process
  • Third-level scholarships equalised for the first time
  • Funding for females through the Education & Training Fund increased by over 100% from 2021
  • First year for female squad visits and female cardiac screening
  • GPA pre match reception before the LGFA final
  • Four player diaries tracking cost of travel for female players with the

Brand Videos

The new GPA Brand was brought to life with two animated video featuring our male and female members. Ryan Wylie (Monaghan) and Lyndsey Davey (Dublin) were the ‘stars’ of the football video while in hurling/camogie Galway’s Siobhán McGrath and Limerick’s William O’Donaghue took part. The videos illustrated in an impactful way our motto You See Players. We See People.


Policy developed and agreed by the GPA & GAA. The policy aims to improve the inter-county training and playing environment to support player welfare, by determining optimum contact hours for teams.

Policy Key Objectives:

  • To support a balanced training and playing environment for inter-county players
  • To reduce time commitment required for inter-county players
  • To reduce unnecessary travel
  • To improve sporting – personal life – career balance
  • To improve Injury Risk Management


618 players received cardiac screening in 2022


416 tests conducted

Female Hardship Fund

A fund was created and introduced to support female GPA members who incurred unreasonable substantial mileage costs, excess material medical costs, or experienced exceptional life circumstances during the 2022 season. This fund will be continued in 2023 as we look to develop better supports for our female players through integration and improved player charter.

Injury Management

GPA worked with the GAA Medical & Safety Committee to develop a new Injury surveillance platform that is being rolled out in 2023. This will provide current data on injuries within our Gaelic games and help direct future policy, structures & procedures.

Players Charter

Agreement of new Players Charter for 2023 for male players which provides:

  • An increased mileage rate of €0.70c per mile and new Green rate of €1 to encourage car pooling
  • Retention of all playing and training gear
  • Removal of cap on panel numbers
  • Introduction of Contact Hours Policy to regulate contact and travel time
  • Payment of €300 student bursary for all full time students


  • Highest number of student scholarships delivered to date to over 800 3rd level students.
  • Increased funding to undergrad and postgrad students to recognise the financial impact of the rising cost of living.
  • First ever student scholarship presentation held in Dublin with over 200 students.

Engagement with
athlete bodies

  • Project partners of EU Atheletes PROLead Project which was concluded in 2022, a programme designed on Jim Madden Leadership
  • GPA Represented on World Players Association Steering Committee for World Player Development Conference held in Nyon Switzerland

Rep Development

  • First ever joint male and female Reps workshop held in conjunction with GPA AGM in Portlaoise
  • Follow up regional rep workshops delivered in 5 locations Nationwide in December

Congratulations to the Champions

Football (MEN)

division one
division two
division three
division four

Football (WOMEN)

TG4 senior
TG4 intermediate
TG4 junior
division 1
division 2
division 3
division 4


Allianz league
division 1
Allianz league
division 2a
Allianz league
division 2b
Allianz league
division 3a
Allianz league
division 3b


glen dimplex
Glen dimplex
Glen dimplex
Littlewoods division 1
Littlewoods division 2
division 3
division 4

Past players event

The GPA Legends Lunch saw almost 500 people gather at Croke Park to honour some of the teams and star players of the past. Mary Jo Curran (Kerry), Angela Downey (Kilkenny), Babs Keating (Tipperary) and Jimmy Keaveney (Dublin) were presented with Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Social outreach

Self Help Africa/
Warriors for
Humanity tree
planting in Kenya

In November 50 inter-county players travelled to Kenya as part of the Warriors for Humanity group who took part in the planting of 1 million trees for Self Help Africa. Each player raised €10,000 through the support of businesses and individuals. In total almost €500,000 was raised to help local communities in Kenya fight against the worst effects of climate change. TG4 went along to document the trip.

Official Charity

In December of 2022 GPA Welfare and Engagement Manager Colm Begley handed over a cheque worth €80,000 to Cliona’s Foundation Co-founder Brendan Ring. This was the proceeds of fundraising activity undertaken by players for the charity, primarily from a GPA Legends Lunch. It brought to a close a partnership that sparked friendships that will last a lifetime.

Road safety authority

The GPA partnered with the Road Safety Authority, the Gardaí, RedFM in Cork and Limerick’s Live 95 to create radio slots featuring local inter-county players aimed at promoting safer driving and slowing down.

BEO 360

991 BEO360 Personal Development Coaching sessions delivered

  • 350 individual players
  • 32 counties + London represented
  • 30% female
  • 70% male
  • 12% former players
  • 88% current players
beo logo

Rookie Camp

Over 300 young players who were in the early stages of their inter-county careers attended the GPA Rookie Camp 2022 which was delivered online.

The Rookie Camp involved workshops focused on:

  • High Performance and Adaptability – speakers Jennifer Rogers, Lee Keegan (Mayo) & Aoife McDonnell (Donegal)
  • Proactive Wellbeing – speakers Dr Ciara Losty & Conn Kilpatrick
  • Fundamentals of an Elite Athlete – speakers Enda King & Luke Keaney
  • Panel discussion featuring Tom Parsons, Katie Power & Michael Murphy

Development Day

27 players attended the event which was hosted in PWC Head Office. The day consisted of 3 workshops and a panel discussion:

  • Developing your personal brand
  • Self-awareness and mindset
  • Communicating with impact

Sports & Business Panel Discussion:

Maria Kinsella
Carlow Footballer & GPA Co-Chair

Brian Byrne
Kildare Dual Player

Aoibhín Cleary
Meath Footballer

World Players Association Player
Development Conference 2022

The Player Development Team attended the World Players Association Player Development Conference which took place in Nyon, Switzerland in June 2022. Over 100 player development managers – 2 from the GPA – attended three-day event focused on future-proofing player development programmes. GPA staff played an active role in designing the conference and taking part in panel discussions.

The themes across the 3 days of the conference were:

  1. Identifying challenges & changes players will face in the next 10 years
  2. Skills players will expect of the Player Development Manager in future
  3. How the Player Development Manager can best support athletes re: abuse, trauma, discrimination and activism

Player Development and Wellbeing Manager Jennifer Rogers participated in a panel discussion titled: Rising Issues in a Diverse Membership, hosted by FIFPRO Player Development Manager Nienke van Gerven.

The cross-sport panel, which also featured Line Roddik Hansen (Danish Football Players Association), Sene Naopu (International Rugby Players) and Dr Alex Culvin (Fifpro), shared valuable knowledge and insight into supporting players on a range of gender-specific issues – from training to medical care.

GPA Jim Madden

GPA Counselling
Support Service

130 new referrals to the GPA Counselling Support Service in 2022.

This represents a 46% increase on the number of new referrals in 2021.

804 individual sessions delivered


To further support improved mental health and wellbeing of our members, we partnered with Silvercloud, an easy to use and scalable digital platform with a variety of wellness programmes that all GPA members can access. It is designed to help improve and maintain wellbeing by addressing underlying issues that can have negative impact. The self-sign up url for GPA members to access SilverCloud is: Create an account and enter the access code ‘GPA’ to get access to the platform.

Hurling for Niall

GPA supported the Hurling for Niall memorial hurling match in memory of Galway hurler Niall Donohue.

  • Galway 2012 Leinster Champions Vs Galway 2017 All-Ireland Champions
  • Organised by Kilbeacanty GAA Club, Galway GAA & Tony Óg Regan in collaboration with Jigsaw

GPA supported event by:

  • 2 members of the team attended the event in Kilbeacanty
  • Participated in panel discussion post-match discussing importance of supporting mental health of the GAA community
  • Sponsored togs with GPA logo for both panels participating in the match
  • Contributed to fundraising auction for Jigsaw by providing the following prizes:
    • Corporate box tickets to Leinster Hurling Final & accommodation in Dublin Hotel
    • 2 tickets to the GPA Legends Lunch
    • 2 tickets to the All-Stars
    • 2 x signed All-Stars Jerseys – 1 X Football & 1 x Hurling

Finance &

Finance &


Revenue Sources

Government Grants


GAA Core Funding




Benevolent fund


Total Expenditure

Player Development Programmes/Player Welfare


Operating Costs


Direct Costs


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