Ryan: Drink not a major issue for GAA

The Cork County Board chairman Bob Ryan does not believe that binge-drinking in the GAA is a major problem confronting the association in Cork.

Mr Ryan was responding to comments made today by outgoing Waterford team doctor Mark Rowe, who declared one of the biggest challenges facing the GAA was the issue of binge drinking.

Dr Rowe, who stepped down last night as medic to the Waterford senior hurlers, said that the problem is just not in sport or in hurling or in Waterford hurling but it was everywhere.

“In a way the young hurlers are like a reflection of the community,” he said.

“Even though many of them would be disciplined and focused, that self-destruct button of binge drinking can bring everybody down.”

Dr Rowe described his time with Waterford as a great privilege, but expressed alarm at the amount of alcohol consumption among players nationwide.

“The thing with drink is this: ‘If I am not drinking anymore than the other fellas, I haven’t a problem and sure if I am off the drink for three weeks and then go on the lash, what’s the problem’.

“There is a mountain of work to be done by the GAA on this issue, which is really empowering young people to improve their self esteem and confidence.”

Responding to the comments, the Cork County Board chairman told the Evening Echo newspaper today that he wasn’t aware of that happening in Cork — and he believed with the near-professional approach of intercounty players these days, it just would not be possible for players to be drinking heavily.

“I can only speak from a Cork viewpoint and I have certainly seen no evidence of what was reported in the newspapers today.

“The Cork players of today, at all levels, put in huge preparation and their training is immense for so many months of the year. You just have to witness them in training and the levels of preparatory work they do, I don’t think drink is an issue with any of them.”

Mr Ryan believes too that even at club level in the county, the bar has been raised so high in preparation that it leaves little time for the type of binge drinking that has been suggested.

“Yes, the club scene has changed a lot too, clubs put in a huge effort now in training and if the players were drinking heavily they just could not cope.”

Article courtesy of the Evening Echo newspaper

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