Tipp still in favour of finishing competition by year end

Council to vote on proposal to condense football and hurling into the same year

GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship Final Replay, Croke Park, Dublin 27/9/2014Kilkenny vs TipperaryTipperaryÕs Seamus Callanan collides with goalkeeper Eoin Murphy of KilkennyMandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship Final Replay, Croke Park, Dublin 27/9/2014Kilkenny vs TipperaryTipperaryÕs Seamus Callanan collides with goalkeeper Eoin Murphy of KilkennyMandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

 
Tipperary

Central Council will next month vote on a proposal to condense the football and hurling competitions into the same year, starting in 2016, which would mean bringing an end to the traditional All-Ireland club finals date on St Patrick’s Day, which effectively rolls over both championships into the following year.

This follows Central Council’s preliminary decision last June to approve certain components of Part Two of the Football Review Committee, which dealt exclusively with fixtures. A working group has since been established to propose an exact scheduling of national club fixtures ahead of Central Council’s next meeting on November 1st.

All this will be easier said than done. The 2014 club football championship gets underway this weekend, with the preliminary round in Ulster, with Leinster and Connacht beginning on Sunday week, and Munster the Sunday after. But Tipperary have already scratched from the Munster championship due to the backlog of fixtures in their county football championship, and Wexford have also confirmed they will miss their date in the Leinster club football championship for similar reasons.

Extra time

Sean Nugent

Tipperary are still on schedule to make their date in the Munster club hurling championship (having received a bye into the semi-finals, on November 9th). Yet Nugent highlights several other potential problems in trying to complete the club championship within the calendar year, which would mean all the provincial competitions being concluded by the end of November, thus allowing for the All-Ireland semi-finals and finals to be played in December.

“Because both our footballers and hurlers went through the All-Ireland qualifiers, it meant we were caught up in fixtures from the latter end of June, through July and August. Once the All-Ireland hurling final went to a replay, we knew we were going to have a bit of difficulty.

“Part of the problem for us is that we’ve so many dual clubs, including four or five off our most successful clubs. They’d be in a strong position in both the football and hurling championship, still. And a lot of those clubs would have players on our senior hurling and our senior football team.

Championship structures

“It’s not ideal, because we’d always like our clubs to be represented, in football and hurling. In fairness, we’ve always been represented in the past. This is certainly the first time I can remember missing out. And we do have pretty good history of completing our championship on time. We try to keep a regular flow of club championship games, in spite of how the intercounty teams are doing.

“But we have to consider player welfare as well, and not end up playing games on a Saturday and again on a Sunday, or the following Wednesday.”

The working group currently looking at the national club scheduling includes GAA director general Paraic Duffy, GAA president Liam O’Neill, and former Cork All-Ireland winning goalkeeper Dónal Óg Cusack, although even if their proposal is approved by Central Council, it will then require a two-thirds majority at GAA Congress next February before being implemented for 2016.

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