Wednesday 22 November 2017

Sheehan adds voice to schedule critics

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

THE GAA's summer schedule came under fire yet again from a Kerry footballer yesterday as Bryan Sheehan followed Colm Cooper's lead of questioning the thinking of the


A year on from crashing out of the championship to Down at the quarter-final stage, the Kingdom again approach the August Bank Holiday weekend on the back of a four-week lay-off, as they prepare to take on Limerick at Croke Park on Sunday.

"You see Derry and Donegal playing in the Ulster final two weeks ago and yet the Munster final was a month ago," said Sheehan (pictured right) at yesterday's launch of the MBNA Kick Fada in Dublin. "Colm Cooper wrote an article a couple of weeks ago saying the system was wrong. I think there are 12 training sessions for every game you play.

"The scheduling is wrong because there is such a big gap between the games. It's drawn out from May to September. It could do with being squeezed up a small bit, so you have games every two weeks or so.

"It's very frustrating to be training not knowing who you are playing next, whereas other teams are playing a week after losing a provincial championship or two weeks after winning one."

An advocate of maintaining the provincial championships, Sheehan argues that the finals should be run off over two weekends rather than drawn out, but he is aware of the pull of television companies in the decision-making process.

"In the real world, it's not going to happen. That's the way it is. We just have to accept it and get on with it.

"At this stage, you're in an All-Ireland quarter-final. You have to have your own house in order.

" You just have to be prepared as best you can for whoever you have to face."

Eyebrows have been raised at the conversion of Sheehan to a midfielder this season. But while the St Mary's man may be better known as a forward, midfield is where he played at underage and he is relishing the responsibility and the space.

"It's probably my natural position. We won an All-Ireland junior championship with the club and I played midfield the whole way through," he said.

"It's a big step up compared to playing there at inter-county level, but it's only a matter of getting used to it. I love it out there. It's up to yourself -- the harder you work the more ball you get on and it's obviously a matter of working really, really hard."

Irish Independent

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