Sunday 15 September 2019

Briody: Strike not on cards despite 'escalation'

CPA chairman Micheál Briody. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
CPA chairman Micheál Briody. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile Newsdesk Newsdesk

The Club Players Association (CPA) was not signposting a potential strike among its members when they circulated a letter last week, the body's chairman Micheál Briody has stated.

The letter to members was critical of the pace with which the GAA were moving at in relation to setting up a body to assess the impact that inter-county fixtures were having on the club scene.

It referenced "possible escalation" and asked club players to "get ready to stand up for your club against continued inaction".

But Briody has said that shouldn't be interpreted as a call for a strike further down the line.

"That's not something we are encouraging or asking for," he insisted.

"The letter was designed to update the membership on ongoing discussions the CPA have been engaged in with GAA officials.

"We thought we were being listened to on the formation of the group, its time-frame of activity and its terms of reference.

"Sadly, progress has since ground to a halt, despite our efforts and enthusiasm. Words but no action."

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As it happened the matter was addressed briefly during the GAA's March Management meeting when president John Horan noted his intention to set up a group to analyse the overall impact of the inter-county game on the club scene.

The CPA expect to be one of the stakeholders in that process.

The inter-county fixture programme continues to undergo change with a second-tier football competition moving closer, while the U-20 football championship could revert to a winter-spring date in 2020.

There is also change in the pipeline for the All-Ireland club finals, set for mid-January in 2020, and potential movement for the third-level competitions too.

But it's how club and inter-county games can better co-exist during the summer months that provides the real challenge and is now the source of most dissatisfaction.

Cork's former All-Ireland-winning hurling captain Tomás Mulcahy tweeted that the new reality of a summer without club championship hurling was difficult to digest.

He stated that he couldn't "believe in the county of Cork that we will have no more club hurling in MAY JUNE JULY AUGUST - these were days of sunshine, skill and love of the Rebels."

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