Jim Gavin calls for league fixtures schedule to be revamped

Dublin manager suggests fitting in Sigerson and interpros before April start to the league

Dublin manager Jim Gavin at a press conference in the Gibson Hotel: “Start later and finish later. There’s a big gap between the league and the championship, especially if you finish in the regular season.” Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Dublin manager Jim Gavin at a press conference in the Gibson Hotel: “Start later and finish later. There’s a big gap between the league and the championship, especially if you finish in the regular season.” Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

After starting off with two games in eight days, both sides will have gone 20 without one by Saturday before facing into a 15-day period where they’ll play three matches apiece. Not so much stop-start as sprint-sleep-sprint. When Jim Gavin sat down with the press yesterday, the fixture calendar couldn’t but come up.

“I feel it needs to be managed better,” he said. “There’s no need to start off the National League at the start of February when there’s so many demands on players. Not only Sigerson, Trench and Fitzgibbon but you also have the interprovincial competition as well which I certainly support.

“It’s one of our traditional competitions going back to the 1920s so I think, as best we can, we need to support that competition. I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t start the National League after the Sigerson and the interpros. Sometime in April would seem to make a lot of sense.”

Though it’s unlikely we’ll see the intercounty season beginning in April anytime soon – some folk still hanker after a return to the old pre-Christmas league start, after all – it was still interesting to hear Gavin’s reasoning. He looks at it from the players’ perspective – what can be done so they can serve whatever masters they choose in however much comfort can be afforded them. Those who draw up the fixtures have other concerns, the battle for press coverage in the early months of the year chief among them.

Start later
“I understand from the GAA’s perspective of wanting to get the games out there, and that needs to be considered as well.

“During the months of February and March, there’s probably a demand on it but I think there’s plenty of exposure with the college and interpro competitions so I think it could be better placed.

“Start later and finish later. There’s a big gap between the league and the championship, especially if you finish in the regular season, shall we say. So that’s early April, and then there’s a big gap until either late May or early June for your championship.”

That would lead to a league being run off in consecutive weekends with little room to breathe, much like the next month or so. But Gavin is adamant such a schedule would be a boon rather than a burden on players.

“I’d have no issue playing games every weekend. There’s plenty of time – seven-day or six-day turnarounds is plenty of time for players to recover. And they want to play games. If you ask any player, they prefer to play a game than have an idle weekend for training.

“I think we need to take a holistic approach with the CCCC perspective. There’s a proposal from the FRC that they control all fixtures but a lot of provinces don’t want to let that go. But I think it’s the only way forward, that we sync our watches.”

Dublin will name their team tonight for the Cork game, with Gavin having access to a reasonably stacked shelf to pick from.

Apart from the St Vincent’s players and cruciate victim Kevin O’Brien, only Bernard Brogan and Paddy Andrews have yet resume full training.

Darren Daly and Emmet Ó Conghaile should be available for selection within the next fortnight and James McCarthy is expected to return tomorrow night. Alan Brogan will have the evening off but is expected to feature next weekend against Kildare.