Croker made a bad call: Cahill

Frank Roche

BARRY CAHILL believes the GAA authorities squandered a great promotional opportunity by refusing Dublin's request, supported by Mayo, to play their Spring Series showdown tomorrow night.

Instead, the Allianz League Division One clash will proceed at Croke Park this Sunday (2.30) - but Cahill says the key participants would much prefer to be playing on a Friday night.

"It is disappointing," Dublin's play-anywhere ace told the Evening Herald. "I'd say if you talked to any county player, they'd rather play on a Saturday than a Sunday - and if you can get away with it, you'd like to play on a Friday night as well.

"I suppose some lads might be in jobs where Friday could be a stressful day and, if you were working from eight o'clock in the morning till seven in the evening, having to go play a match wouldn't be ideal.

"But as a once-off, I think it was definitely an opportunity missed - with the week that's in it between Cheltenham, the rugby, St Patrick's Day and all that. So from our point of view, we would definitely have preferred to be playing on Friday night."

The GAA's top fixture-making body, the CCCC, last week rebuffed calls for the game to be moved, and one of the reasons proffered was the issue of player welfare for inter-county footballers forced to take time off work, with no facility in the GAA to compensate them.

But the subsequent message emerging from Mayo, as well as Dublin, is that players actually prefer having games earlier in the weekend.

"We've had a few Saturday evening games, and then you've the whole Sunday to yourself - whether you want to do something with your wife or girlfriend or family, or play 18 holes of golf, or do whatever you want," explained Cahill.

"It's great to have that day, because on a Saturday before Sunday games you don't get anything much out of it.

"I know from experience, playing on August bank holiday weekends, we've had games on the Monday and that's even worse. You finish work on a Friday, and you have the game hanging over you. So ideally you'd like to get the game out of the way as early as possible on the weekend, because it's important to have a life outside football as well. Sometimes you can get too consumed with it all, and you're sort of focussed 24/7. You need a few distractions and you need to get away from it."