GAA proposes calendar year club championship with player burnout in mind

Working group make calendar reform proposals including August All-Ireland hurling final

St. Vincent’s players celebrate after the 2014 All-Ireland club football final - the current proposals are looking for the club championships to be condensed into the calender year. Photograph:Cathal Noonan/Inpho

The ongoing dismay at the current GAA calendar may be resolved by March when Central Council are likely to decide upon the proposals made by the GAA working group which include moving the All-Ireland finals a week forward and condensing the club season into the calendar year.

The eight proposals which were presented in Croke Park on Saturday are likely to be trialled on a two-year pilot basis. The two most radical of recommendations are for the All-Ireland football and hurling finals to be brought forward by one week, with any pending replays to be fulfilled on the Saturday after the drawn game, and for the club championship to be completed in the same year in which it starts.

With the proposed structures in place only two hurling teams and four football teams will remain in the All-Ireland championship come August, meaning that there is a heightened expectation for an end to the delays to the club championship which have hit boiling point in recent years, as well as increasing the likelihood of a county team then fielding a full strength team during the league.

The group was chaired by GAA president Liam O'Neill and also included Paraic Duffy, Fergal McGill and GPA chairman Donal Óg Cusack. The plan now is for counties to discuss the recommendations before any decision-making process begins, which will more than likely commence in March when Central Council meet once more.

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Furthermore Central Council have agreed to the continuation of the International Rules series, as well as recommending that the London senior football champions be entered into the existing provincial club championship structures.

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue is a former Irish Times journalist