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Páraic Duffy calls on congress to move finals forward

Updated: Saturday, 20 Feb 2016 23:31 | Comments

Páraic Duffy believes that bringing the All Ireland inter-county finals forward will benefit clubs
Páraic Duffy believes that bringing the All Ireland inter-county finals forward will benefit clubs

GAA director-general Páraic Duffy believes that a proposal to bring forward the All Ireland inter-county finals by two weeks will go some way to helping GAA clubs and their players.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Saturday Sport, Duffy admitted that clubs have suffered in the past, with club championships being rushed in order to facilitate inter-county campaigns.

Under a proposed motion to amend rule 6.30, the All-Ireland football final would played on the first Sunday in September, while the hurling final would be played on the Sunday two weeks previous to the football final. 

The motion will go before congress next weekend and while Duffy admits that it isn’t a cure-all for the GAA’s fixtures problems, he insists it’s a good start.

"We've got the balance wrong between the inter-county game and the club game,” he said.

"The inter-county game is hugely important, and vital in terms of promotion, but club players are suffering as a result. We need to do better by our players and free up some more time.

"The proposals we're putting forward to congress are quite modest but they're pragmatic and if people can grasp the core reasons behind them, I'd be hopeful that they will make the changes that are necessary."

Duffy anticipates that there will be opposition to the proposals and that counties with dual code players may feel that there isn't enough of a gap between the two finals.

"There will be opposition to that, we've seen that already," he said. "These things might appear obvious but come Congress next weekend, I don't expect any of these motions to get an easy run.

"If the All-Ireland finals are brought forward it makes (finish competitions within) the calendar year possible but we need to get this motion through first before we can run with a calendar year.

"There is an issue with dual counties. They say it'll be very difficult for them to play if the championships are squeezed tighter."

"This may force counties to face up to those kind of challenges and I think it's time we did that," Duffy added.

The director-general believes that it's time that counties are asked to compromise in order to benefit club players, who have often been recipients of a raw deal in the past.

"Club players are not getting a fair deal and in too many counties, they're waiting until the All-Irelands are over before their club championships seriously begin.

"They end up playing games week after week in the worst of weather as the year goes on. This is not going to solve the problem completely but it will be a start.

"Players are entitled to 13 days free of club fixtures before an inter-county championship game but very often that's extended because team managers ask for three weeks or four weeks."

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