Leinster chief calls for January club finals
Published 29/02/2012 | 05:00
Leinster Council chairman Martin Skelly has become the latest GAA administrator to question the St Patrick's Day date for the All-Ireland club finals.
Skelly told the weekend convention of Leinster Council that he can't understand how the competition can't be wrapped up before the end of January.
He says the impact on clubs and "smaller" counties is too much when the competition drags on for so long.
"It still baffles me that the All-Ireland Championship at club level cannot be completed in January," he said. "The provincial representatives are known in late November/early December and yet it then takes us three months plus to play off the remaining two games in these competitions.
"I agree that these three months can be a wonderful journey for a club team but it can also put a huge strain on clubs -- both mentally and financially -- and it also ensures that a successful club will get no break from competition as one year will run into the next.
"It also has a knock-on effect for counties -- particularly the smaller ones -- as it is unlikely that these players will participate in the National Leagues. I question the idea of keeping a competition going for three months plus to provide a GAA occasion on St Patrick's Day."
Ironically, Leinster did not know their football champions until the last weekend before Christmas because of delays to the Dublin championships.
"We were very fortunate with the weather conditions that helped us to achieve this, but it is a situation that I hope does not occur again as the playing of a Leinster club final on the Sunday before Christmas is asking an awful lot of our players and supporters alike.
"It is the duty of every county to have their championship concluded on time so that their local winners can partake in the Leinster Club Championship."
Leinster are adamant that they will make no provision for counties who find themselves in the same situation in the future.