Chairman of the Club Players’ Association Micheál Bríody has criticised the GAA’s handling of the Wicklow senior football championship, describing the decision to schedule the final for a day before the Leinster championship as ‘unacceptable’.
Having drawn the initial game two weeks ago, St. Pat’s beat Rathnew on Saturday to win the 2018 senior football county title, less than 24 hours before losing to Rhode in the first round of the Leinster championship.
Speaking to RTÉ Radio 1’s Sunday Sport programme, Mr. Bríody said that there was inadequate time for the Pat’s players to recover for the game against the Offaly champions.
“I’m not an expert in sports science, but you have healthy, professional soccer players who compete in a less physically demanding sport with no real contact who are at higher risk with a Saturday to Tuesday turnaround compared to a Saturday to Wednesday turnaround,” Bríody said.
“So there’s inadequate recovery there which means playing with damaged muscles, decreased energy, decreased coordination, guaranteed injury. It’s not acceptable in this day and age.”
This year — in an attempt to solve the fixture congestion issues in hurling and football — the GAA debuted the Super 8s and gave hurling its first taste of a round-robin championship format, while also leaving April open for club competition.
However, Bríody has said that the current club fixture situation is worse than it was previously.
“We’ve had one of the best summers weather-wise but in the months of May, June, July there have been no meaningful club games played.
“April won’t work when you have different start dates for the championship. If you’re starting earlier in the inter-county championship in May, it’s unfair to ask managers to release the players for the club for that when other counties aren’t starting until the end of May or early June,” he said.
“Club players are suffering in most counties around Ireland. They’re not getting a certain list of fixtures that they can plan their lives around. In 2018 that is completely unacceptable.”