Marie Crowe – Updated 27 October 2013 03:36 PM
Former Armagh footballer Enda McNulty feels that the time has come to explore the possibility of professionalism in the GAA.

“We have the best games in the world, we have to consider very strongly how we are going to promote these games internationally,” says McNulty.

“Whatever it takes to promote and play these games internationally, we have to do that. If we need to significantly explore and investigate having a professional game then we need to do that. It’s not a bad thing to explore that and to investigate that.”

McNulty, who has worked as performance coach with both Ireland and Leinster rugby, believes that there could be a sustainable market for hurling and football internationally. In recent weeks he has spoken to some of the head guys in the AFL and thinks that their strategy for developing their game around the world should give the GAA a wake-up call.

On top of this, he feels that hurling and football are far superior sports to some of those that are being successfully marketed at an international level such as Mixed Martial Arts.

“We need to open our minds to see what we can do with this game. I would love to see little kids in New York in 20 years’ time being as good as the kids in Dublin. Or the kids in London being as good at hurling as the kids in Clare or the little girls playing ladies football in Melbourne being as good as the girls in South Armagh.

“What a dream that would be. I think the biggest thing stopping us is our mindset. We are afraid to talk about this to look at the feasibility of it. If we are afraid to look at the feasibility, how are we going to develop a strategy that can deliver this and, of course, execute that internationally?”

The All-Ireland winner has been keeping an eye on the management developments in his own county.

He is delighted with the appointment of Kieran McGeeney as Armagh selector and thinks that he will work very well with the manager Paul Grimley.

“Those two guys get on very well. They’ve come to an arrangement to stick to their strengths. They will look at what Grimley’s biggest strengths are and Kieran’s biggest strengths and how they can together bring Armagh forward.

“I think the guys have spoken about it in the media in the last few weeks that Armagh has to be the number one agenda. I think the guys will enjoy that they are friends and that they will take the lead in different stages whether it’s skill development, tactical development or mental development. Kieran is really strong across all those platforms.”

Along with what he can contribute on the field, McNulty thinks that McGeeney will offer a lot to the county off the field too.

“He will bring serious gravitas, he will bring belief into the county again, he will bring a sense of optimism again. He’ll bring hope.”

Although McNulty would like to follow in his brother Justin’s footsteps and get into management, it is not in his immediate plans. At the moment he has a lot to learn about performance, and working with professional teams, athletes and corporate companies is enabling his development. But he has strong views on what it takes to be an All-Ireland-winning team.

“You have to have five core aspects of preparation developed at the highest level. First and foremost, skill development needs to be first rate. Secondly, the tactical game has moved on significantly, you won’t win the All-Ireland without having the right tactics in place.”

“Thirdly, strength and conditioning is vital. We now know that every county has a significant strength and conditioning team in place. And fourthly, we need the right mental conditioning. Without this you are not going to be composed under pressure. And the last element is rest, recovery and lifestyle.”