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GPA insist more late games on the table

DESSIE FARRELL says the GPA remains receptive to the staging of Friday night inter-county matches, despite Páraic Duffy's insistence that the experiment was effectively dead.

In his annual report, the GAA's director general suggested that last summer's All-Ireland SFC qualifier between Laois and Carlow was an event "unlikely to be repeated," after significant upset and vocal condemnation from participating players.

According to Farrell, however, this was partly to a "lack of communication and engagement with the players," although the players' chief agreed with Duffy's sentiments that financial recompense in lieu of time off work was the biggest impediment to any future Friday evening games.

The CCCC's decision to fix the game – which nevertheless drew roughly twice the number of spectators who attended the same fixture on a Sunday a year previously – without prior consultation with players was, said Farrell "a mistake," one which he felt "done the concept a little bit of damage".

"If it becomes an issue for a group of players or one squad, then that obviously needs to be addressed in some shape or form or the idea needs to be knocked on the head," he stressed.

GOOCH RULED OUT

KERRY boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice reckons Colm Cooper could play inter-county football into his mid-thirties – but there is every chance that 'Gooch' won't feature at all during the Allianz League.

The All Star centre-forward, 30 since last summer, will be a notable absentee because of club commitments when Kerry open their Division One campaign against Dublin next Saturday.

Fitzmaurice confirmed that if Dr Crokes qualify for the All-Ireland club final on St Patrick's Day, Cooper "won't play league football, no matter how far we go, it's as simple as that."

But as for the longer term, the Kerry manager predicted: "He's really looking after himself, and so he will play on. If he has the appetite, he can play or for three or four more years, at least."

Meanwhile, Eoin Larkin is likely to miss Saturday's Walsh Cup final against Dublin, but the Kilkenny camp has allayed fears about the weekend elbow injury suffered against Galway. The damage has been diagnosed as bruising, with nothing broken.

Galway expect to have David Burke and Iarla Tannian back for their NHL Division 1A opener at home to Dublin on February 16.


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