Corofin veteran Kieran Fitzgerald has called on the GAA to reschedule the All-Ireland club championships to better promote the competitions and avoid clashes with the college cups and Allianz Football League
For the second consecutive year, the Galway champions were due to have two players facing a fixture clash: Holders Corofin's All-Ireland club SFC semi-final meeting with Gaoth Dobhair takes place in Carrick-on-Shannon next Saturday, the same day as the Sigerson were originally scheduled for the semi-finals in Cork.
Kieran Molloy made headlines last year when he dashed to Dublin to come on as a substitute for NUI Galway, fresh from helping Corofin beat Moorefield in Tullamore.
Molloy and club-mate Liam Silke (UCD) were again facing the same dilemma, until the Higher Education authority agreed to switch NUIG's game to the Sunday. Silke remains with the impossible task of making it from Leitrim to Mallow however.
"It’s a crazy situation and how has it happened again?" said Fitzgerald. "It’s just too hard on players.
"Last year, Liam wasn’t able to play the Sigerson final because he got injured in the game 45 minutes before that. Kieran went up and played 20 minutes.
"When you look back on your college days and think ‘Two years in a row my Sigerson ambitions have been muddled by a lack of foresight from the GAA in regards to fixtures...'"
For 38-year-old Fitzgerald, an All-Ireland winner and All-Star with Galway in 2001, the solution is to bring forward the All-Ireland club series.
"The club finals have been on St Patrick’s Day for years but I think something has to change," he told RTÉ Sport.
"Our provincial final finished in mid-November. Why not play the All-Ireland semi-final two weeks later and maybe the final the a week or 10 days before Christmas under lights in Croke Park?
"Everything would be done and dusted before Christmas rather than teams slogging away through bad pitches and whatnot, nearly two and a half months to play 60 minutes of football in mid-February."
Fitzgerald believes that the club championships fade into the background once the Allianz Leagues begin and
"From a GAA point of view, before Christmas, the only thing really happening is the club scene. People are really interested in it.
"But by the time the All-Ireland semi-finals come around, it kind of gets lost amongst the National League games.
"There’s huge enthusiasm because the inter-county season is back up and teams are pushing hard. Supporters are saying ‘When are they going to get the players back?’ and ‘Isn’t it an awful inconvenience that Ian Burke isn’t playing for Galway or whoever’. They’re just dying to get those players back and hoping that the club games just finish.
"It gets muddled in there and it’s a pity because it’s a brilliant competition.
"It’s an inconvenience for inter-county managers and teams. For the players, sometimes it’s to their detriment when they go back to the inter-county scene, that they’re playing catch-up after missing the majority of the league.
"Things are going to have to change."
Corofin’s Kieran Fitzgerald was speaking ahead of the AIB GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Club Championship Semi-Final where they take on Gweedore at Carrick-on-Shannon on Saturday, 16 February