Tuesday 16 January 2018

Kernan and McStay back December finish for club showpieces

Joe Kernan
Joe Kernan
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Two prominent All-Ireland winning club managers have given their firm blessing to a proposal by the Football Review Committee to complete the All-Ireland club football championships in December.

This would ensure that the competition is concluded within the same calendar year and both Joe Kernan, who won three All-Ireland club titles with Crossmaglen Rangers and Kevin McStay, manager when St Brigid's finally got over the line last March, have welcomed the prospect.

Neither believe the "emotional" attachment, as FRC chairman Eugene McGee described it as at Monday's launch, to a St Patrick's Day date should ward off a change that would suit players, management and clubs.

"Under lights on the first Saturday or second Saturday in December, coming up to Christmas, it would be fantastic," said McStay.

"The St Patrick's Day link is fine at one level, but what the clubs and people in charge of them are being asked to do is just totally unfair. There are 13 or 14 months of non-stop action and it's just not on. I think it's a great idea.

"And, of course, it would put the onus on counties to get their championships finished on time."

SANCTIONS

The former Mayo player believes sanctions are the only way that counties can be brought into line to ensure their club championships are completed on time.

Kernan shares McStay's belief that it would ease the burden on players to wrap up the club championships and cut out the extra three-month break.

"You talk about expense on players and burn-out. If it was finished in the one season. It would mean that those players wouldn't have to go through those three extra months training," said Kernan. "They would have at least a month to six weeks off and then they are coming back fresh.

"That's the killer, that they have to keep it going for those extra months and it's a long time.

"Crossmaglen Rangers played a couple of challenges last January and into early February and they were poor and they didn't play as well in the semi-finals. If you have to wait that long it's a potential pitfall. Now that's because Cross are there so often. A club that gets there for the first time in a lifetime it's different," he accepted.

Kernan said a change is worth it provided that's what all the clubs want. "You would try anything for two or three years and see how it goes. Every club in Ireland should have a say in that vote," he said.

Kernan has also stepped down after one season in his second spell in charge of Crossmaglen Rangers, with Oisin McConville and John McEntee taking over as joint-managers.

Irish Independent

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