Wednesday 16 August 2017

No advantage for Kerry in winning Munster -- Cooper

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The championship season is only four weekends old but already Colm Cooper feels it is dragging out much longer than it should.

The Kerry captain expressed the opinion yesterday at a Lucozade Sport promotion in Dublin that the gaps between games is too long for some teams. But he stopped short of suggesting an overhaul of the championship structures and an end to the provincial championships.

"I love Munster final day, I love Kerry-Cork, I love Kerry-Limerick, whatever it is as long as Kerry are there. But I think the season is very drawn out," he said. "The first game was Donegal and Antrim in May and I think there are too many gaps between games.

"Antrim lost and they don't play until June 25. It's nearly two months that they have to wait for another game, which is crazy."

Cooper feels a more compressed championship would suit everyone, but that would mean restoring the imbalances of the provinces, which he acknowledges is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

"Even if you have two or three-week gaps, that's plenty," he said. "I don't know how you would organise the logistics of it. There are plenty of people in Croke Park who can do that. The current structure needs to be reviewed anyway.

"Every player likes playing games. Someone was telling me recently that it works out at 13 training sessions for every championship match. Compare it to other sports and it seems off the wall."

Kerry have struggled to deal with long gaps between games before. They were almost caught when they had six weeks to wait between their Munster final win in 2007 and their All-Ireland quarter-final against Monaghan.

Last year they were caught by Down when they had to wait four weeks, although the suspension of Tomas O Se and Paul Galvin were also factors.

"(Getting caught out after sitting idle) has been the same for many teams over the last couple of years and I've no doubt we'll see it again this year," said Cooper.

Losing

"When you see all the provincial winners losing their quarter-finals last year, that backs up the point.

"Is there an advantage to winning a Munster championship or a provincial championship? We definitely want to win the Munster championship in three weeks' time but maybe it's something that the GAA have to look at in providing an advantage to winning it.

"At the moment, the four-week break isn't an advantage for winning Munster."

Cooper is determined that Kerry should defend their "proud" record of no current players losing a championship match in Killarney.

Not since Cork beat them in 1995 have the Kingdom lost on a championship day in Killarney.

"It's a very proud record for Kerry people," he said.

"Cork have been pretty close the last few years. It's a very proud record and we like to make it a fortress as much as we can. Not too many players can go through their careers saying they have never lost a championship game at home.

"That would be something nice to achieve."

Irish Independent

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