Leinster council bench sub interchange experiment
A PROPOSAL to introduce an Aussie Rules-style rotation substitution system for the coming season's O'Byrne Cup has been abandoned by Leinster Council, WRITES CLIONA FOLEY.
The province contemplated bringing in something like the AFL's 'interchange' system for their early season competition, which would have resulted in more substitutions being allowed and possibly no restrictions at all on the amount used in a game.
This is believed to have been a response to complaints that the ban on collective inter-county training in November and December has meant that managers are not getting enough of a chance to see their players in competitive action before the start of the National Leagues in February.
But Leinster have abandoned the idea for this season at least, as they discovered that, even though the experiment would only apply to one of their own independent, internal competitions, they would still need to get such an experiment passed by Croke Park's Central Competitions Control Committee and did not have time to get it in place for the coming season.
The enforced inter-county hibernation was brought in on the recommendation of the GAA's burnout task force. But ever since its introduction in 2007, managers have largely complained about it, arguing that it doesn't give them enough time to prepare for the National Leagues.
New managers argue that they are at a particular disadvantage as they have only a month to get their team organised and competitive.
Players can train individually before January 1 and managers are allowed hold trials involving players who were not on their squad in the previous season, but they are barred from training their team collectively.
However, there is much speculation that the training ban is being flouted in some quarters and some unidentified county players have, reportedly, complained that this is costing them money because their county boards cannot refund their expenses for training that is not supposed to be happening.