Sunday 4 December 2016

Golden goose needs to be protected

Published 03/02/2016 | 02:30

Páraic Ó Duffy (SPORTSFILE )
Páraic Ó Duffy (SPORTSFILE )

Jim Gavin wants a later start to the Allianz Football League.

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"Any time after St Patrick's Day would suit me fine," he said.

Páraic Duffy wants the All-Ireland senior finals brought forward by two weeks, which would leave the football decider on the first Sunday in September.

"Earlier All-Ireland final dates would give all counties at least two additional weeks in September to complete club championships," noted Duffy in his 'Player Overtraining and Burnout' document.

If the Gavin and Duffy blueprints were put together, all senior inter-county action would be played in less than six months between mid-March and early September.

Apart from the obvious scheduling difficulties involved, it would also totally wreck the already fragile club programme in summer.

There's another consideration too, one that seems to be slipping ever-further down the agenda.

Shortening the inter-county season would reduce the exposure for football and hurling, which is marketing madness in a global sports environment where international events are available on TV every week of the year.

Granted, it's very difficult to satisfy all strands in such a multi-strand organisation as the GAA but there seems to be a growing view that squeezing the inter-county game will solve everything. It won't.

Which is why eager fingers should be stopped from throttling the golden goose.

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