For the love of the jersey. The pride in representing your own place. Statements that sum up why so many opt for an inter-county GAA career.

It was no surprise that an ESRI study, carried out in conjunction with the GAA and GPA, showed that playing for you county meant an awful lot to the 1,037 players surveyed.

Yet, other findings from the report entitled 'Playing senior inter-county Gaelic games; Experiences, realities and consequences' told us that players got less sleep, had a higher injury rate and have poorer mental health than the general population.

It also states that too much effort is demanded of them and that time away from family and friends was a downside of playing at this level.  

Much food for thought then for the GAA & GPA?  

Indeed, GPA Chief Executive Seamus Hickey admitted that "many eyes were opened to the real commitment" given by players on the back of this latest research.

When pressed by Hugh Cahill on 2fm's Game On as to what will happen next, Hickey did admit that the powers that be, and that includes county boards across the land, have not been proactive on the subject of player sustainability.

"I have no doubt that this latest report will bring change closer, but it's going to require a lot of leadership and energy from ourselves, the GAA and county boards," he said.

"You would have to say that the commitment to regulations in the GAA has been poor. April as a club month wasn't adhered to by many of the counties this year. It was something that was passed at Congress, but there was no great consultation with all the relevant stakeholders. That takes time. You have to be firm in setting out regulations.

"What we and the GAA have now are findings from a report that can be used as an important teaching tool in coaching seminars."

"If you look at collective bargaining agreements in the NBA, NFL or AFL, they have training hours mandated in their agreements that they can't extend past a certain amount of time"

As for county boards, this year's All-Ireland hurling winner added: "They have responsibility in that the management teams that they appoint are accountable to them, whether that's for expenditure, training hours and the commitment that is demanded of the players.

Hickey went on to reference how professional sports are striking the required balance.

"I have seen sports across the world where there are regulations on training hours. If you look at collective bargaining agreements in the NBA, NFL or AFL, they have training hours mandated in their agreements that they can't extend past a certain amount of time."