GAA looking at taking control of all fixtures

Croke Park concern at inadequacy of club schedules reaches tipping point


The GAA is moving towards acceptance of the need to take overall control of all fixtures nationally to ensure a fairer schedule of activity for club players.

Although the Football Review Committee’s proposed championship reforms will attract most attention, the report is also deeply concerned about the irregularity of fixtures for the 98 per cent of players solely involved with club football.

The report refers to Donegal’s proposal to play no senior of intermediate county championship matches until out of the All-Ireland championship as “a fundamental and potentially disastrous development”.

It proposes Croke Park’s CCCC should have “overall responsibility” for all fixtures. FRC chair Eugene McGee praised the GAA’s work in this area in recent years and association president Liam O’Neill said there would be further moves to address the problem and added he was not happy with the Donegal situation.

“We’ve made numerous attempts over the last number of years to tidy up the fixtures situation. A fair amount of time has been put into that. I think we’re going to have to put up the totality of fixtures and show people exactly the amount of games that we’re doing. Páraic (Duffy, director general) and I discussed this last week.

“If we have to make some decisions, we will have to make some decisions.

“We might have to make some decisions, like a proposal of the hurling review group that minors don’t play adult. That would free up a huge amount of time. If people in the U21 championship didn’t play national league games until they were finished, that would free up a whole lot more space.

“Then you have competitions like intermediate hurling, junior football: how are they contributing to the overall games spread? If we start making decisions then we can start tightening it up. We haven’t made decisions yet that will free up space. I think it has been shown in the press we have huge gaps at the moment. We play a lot of games at the one time of the year.”