Dublin CEO John Costello has been keeping receipts, and he's used his Annual Report to prove it.
He's lashed out at the media coverage of the football team's GAA breach, taken aim at John Connellan's pleas for financial fair play, and - perhaps most surprisingly - three points for a goal in hurling.
Earlier this year, Dublin football manager Dessie Farrell received a 12-week ban for his part in a group training session at Innisfails GAA club. The session took place in opposition to the COVID-19 regulations in place at the time.
At the time, Dublin GAA described it as a "serious error of judgement".
But in his Annual Report, Costello claims the Dubs were the victim of a media witch hunt.
"One thing that is worth mentioning on reflection was the level, intensity and tone of some of the media commentary - and this, most certainly, is not any attempt to defend the indefensible," he wrote.
The tone, at times, was one of 'these lads should be arraigned for treason' and that they were guilty of burgling the bank of youth from the young citizens of the country.
"For almost two weeks, some media organisations turned over every stone to see if they could squeeze yet more mileage out of the story.
"Was the same attitude applied to other teams who were also in breach? Or to a team from a different sporting code who broke restrictions to go outside the jurisdiction for social events?
And that's before even mentioning any political 'socials'. Most certainly not.
"Would 'The Hawks against the Dubs?' be an aphorism for the time?
"Then the following doozy of a headline was brought to my attention: "Most of us don't have a garden big enough for 50 guests - but who hasn't fallen off lockdown wagon like Nathan Carter?"
"Certainly, we live in very interesting times!"
"You're entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts"
Next on Costello's hitlist was former Westmeath footballer John Connellan.
Addressing GAA funding late last year, Connellan wrote, "I absolutely love watching the Dubs but the tap can now be turned off.
"Clubs in Dublin are self-sustainable and the county board is self-sustainable. Outside of the capital, a lot of us are really struggling."
Clearly displeased with Connellan's argument, Costello wrote, "Well there are a few issues to address in it, no doubt. As I've written before on such matters - you're entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts."
The Dublin CEO defended the use of Games Promotion Officers in the capital, saying, "The Games Promotion Officers are not some crack team akin to Easter [sic] Bloc coaches who hot-house young players and turn them into All Ireland winners!"
Costello also defended Dublin's continued use of the 'neutral' Croke Park, highlighting is use by the county for National League games dating back to 1925.
Four points for a goal?
Costello also believes it's time to consider increasing the points value of a goal in hurling.
He points towards Limerick's lack of reliance on goals in accruing three All Ireland titles over the last four years.
Costello said, "Now, the all-conquering Limerick hurlers are obvious trailblazers when it comes to outrageous point tallies.
"To be clear, this is not meant as a slight in any way on them as they are a marvellous team - we are just using them as an example as the leading county of recent seasons.... but even if you exclude their goal tallies, they averaged over 28 points per SHC contest in 2020 and 27 points in the summer just gone.
"Here’s the crux: they only scored two goals in five championship games last year, perhaps partly because raising white flags was a more reliable route to victory.
"They revealed a greater lust for goals this season (eight in four SHC games) but it still begs the question: what if we increased the value of a goal once more? Would it encourage more teams to gamble if they knew it was worth, say, four points?
"The aim is simple - primarily to encourage attacking play and then perhaps, as a by-product, to increase entertainment levels. And that’s precisely what goals inject into a hurling point-fest - and equally a game of football.
"The only trouble, in recent years, is that the adrenaline rush of a goal can sometimes evaporate in a matter of minutes, as your opponent responds with a necklace of quickfire points.
"This can be especially frustrating in a hurling game dominated by multiple frees from all manner of
distances, even beyond 100 metres."
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