Sport is certainly back and most importantly, GAA action also around the corner. I don’t want to start on a negative, but there are concerns which need to be ironed out.
The first problem I see for the club championships is the time frame allocated. It’s a very narrow window and dual counties have a big problem straight away. Some counties will be forced to decide between codes in my opinion.
It will mean that either football or hurling will lose out depending on each county. Counties are being forced to choose which will cause plenty of problems within clubs.
This will not be a problem for some counties like Kerry, Tyrone and Donegal in football and Kilkenny in hurling. Galway and Cork might be different story though.
Then you look at Dublin, who very strong in hurling at the minute, but don’t be surprised if they concentrate on football and run off the club scene in five weeks, an ideal situation for their county team in their quest for six-in-a-row.
My problem is that it will fall back on the intercounty players putting them in an awkward position and a tug of war in effect between club and county management teams, particularly if a club gets to a semi- final or final.
It simply won’t be possible to play both club championships before the resumption of intercounty training.
I stated in previous blogs that the GAA were pessimistic in recent interviews and the argument is there that they continue to be so. Three weeks will pass whereby players are allowed train in groups of up to 15 on recent Government announcement.
Yet, they are driving by their own GAA grounds to train in public parks while GAA grounds are closed.
This three-week period could be crucial for county boards in terms of club games and certainly makes no sense to me.
It would have been better served perhaps to go with intercounty first on a knockout basis and get it done and then allow club championships to carry on from September.
County teams no matter what’s being said are back training in different forms again because the Government regulations are allowing that.
It’s a huge contradiction in terms and will cause plenty of conflict within clubs up and down the country.
Back to the intercounty scene, it’s the winter All-Ireland we now have to look forward to and the weather in November is generally better than the weather in February. Let us hope that’s the case this year!
It’s certainly not a bad time for players to be playing football and I’m sure intercounty players are biting at the bit in anticipation.
Another positive is that it will be with crowds in the stand, the only question on that front will be how many?
Have no doubt however the current situation will suit the stronger counties. Those who have knockout club championships like a Dublin or Donegal, who can run them off quick and get there county teams back training.
I mentioned Galway previously as an up-and-coming team who are a threat to all but they may struggle to get hurling and football club games run off. This may lead to bigger demands on dual players and conflict between club and county players in turn increasing the risk of injury.
The format of this year’s Championship is yet to be confirmed, but it’s likely to revert back to times of old. This will see a knockout system with a back door in place, again suiting the stronger counties.
The super 8’s will be gone for this year and let’s be honest, it might be no loss.
What happened last year in Omagh is fresh in the memory for all the wrong reasons demeaning the system. Tyrone and Dublin picked second and third strings, with both teams already through. It was reported that Dublin’s first team actually trained the same day.
Long term maybe it will give the GAA a chance to revise the Championship going forward. Whatever the case all GAA fans are excited, but you can expect the usual suspects to be involved come rain or shine.
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