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GPA support Friday action but with warning

THE Gaelic Players Association has urged the GAA against rushing into Friday night fixtures without first discussing the consequences with them.

The GPA has stressed that, contrary to some media portrayals, they actually believe Friday night championship matches could be a great idea ... but the issue of compensation, especially for self-employed players, will have to be thrashed out first.

"The idea of a Friday night game is very attractive - under lights, a local derby, it's something we support. But there are consequences involved in that," warned GPA communications officer Seán Potts.

"The fact is it's a senior county championship match. You don't just knock off (from work) at four o'clock and rush off down for a warm-up. The preparation involved for any championship game is professional, and that is what's required of the players.

"The GPA isn't against it in principle - and in fact believe it's a great idea and the attraction is obvious," Potts added.

"However, there are a number of issues to be resolved. Particularly if self-employed players have to take time off work for a game, then the issue of compensation arises."

The GPA official was responding to this week's proposal, floated by the Leinster Council, to stage one of their senior championship games on a Friday night next summer.

Contacted today on whether the issue of compensation had arisen, Leinster chairman Martin Skelly said it had "never entered the equation, it never entered the discussion" when the proposal was put to the full Leinster Council.

"We are doing this on an experimental basis," he stressed. "Number one, we have to find a fixture that is suitable. Obviously if we get the go-ahead - and that is a big question mark - we would have to see how the experiment went."

Skehill pointed out that midweek fixtures (at inter-county U21 and Leinster club league level) are already a common event with the Leinster Council.

However, when pressed that senior championship games would constitute an obvious step-up, the Longford man conceded: "If a Friday night game has any future, then everything is open to discussion."

A DUBLIN football selection will play Louth in an exhibition game on Sunday (2.0) to mark the 125 year celebrations of Louth club Newtown Blues in Drogheda.

The grounds are on the Newfoundwell Road and admission prices are €10 for adults and €5 for OAP/Students. New Dublin selector Mick Deegan is expected to manage the Dubs for the game.


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