Monday 26 September 2016

Magee can't blame Duffy for flaws in the system

Published 18/05/2016 | 02:30

Wicklow manager Johnny Magee Photo: Sam Barnes / SPORTSFILE
Wicklow manager Johnny Magee Photo: Sam Barnes / SPORTSFILE

Johnny Magee is right but his guns are trained in the wrong direction.

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The Wicklow boss complained about the inter-county schedule after the defeat by Laois last Saturday, which may well leave his squad with only one more game (an All-Ireland qualifier) this year.

"I'm banging on the drum and I'll keep banging on it, and even if I have to go over and knock on Paraic Duffy's door, I'll do it," he said.

Magee's frustration is understandable. Wicklow had nine competitive games last year, seven of which were completed by early April. They have had eight games this year, all played by May 15. They now face a five-week wait for the first round qualifier, which could be their final outing of the year.

To add to the frustration, they were away for their two Championship games against Meath and Armagh last year and again last Saturday (Portlaoise).

So while it's easy to understand why Magee is so dismayed, there's no solution to be found inside Duffy's office for the simple reason that the current formats are upheld by the counties and provinces.

That being the case, Duffy - despite his position as director general - is as powerless as Magee to spark any change.

The power lies with counties and provinces but since it's impossible to get agreement among them on meaningful change, the current system, complete with all its inequalities, will continue.

Attempts to tamper with it were shot down in spectacular flames at Congress this year. And while that was understandable, given the nature of the proposed changes, it shouldn't be the end of the search for a better system.

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