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Empty fields at county level a promotional own goal

The GAA season has been squeezed at either end of the championship, resulting in a substantial reduction in media exposure and promotional opportunities. (Stock photo)
The GAA season has been squeezed at either end of the championship, resulting in a substantial reduction in media exposure and promotional opportunities. (Stock photo)

Independent.ie newsdesk

The inter-county fields have fallen silent and, with the exception of the first round of the Joe McDonagh SH Cup and Connacht SFC games in Ruislip and Gaelic Park, will remain so until the second weekend mid-May.

It has already become clear that not as many senior club championship games will be played in April as initially anticipated, but the official GAA line is that this month was left free for all local games, not just big ones.

Not playing senior championship games creates its own type of vacuum, which inter-county managers will happily fill for the top players with training for the provincial campaigns.

Who can blame them? They are judged on how the county teams fare, so every opportunity to maximise preparation time will be exploited.

Dates have been changed at the other end of the championship too, with the All-Ireland hurling final on August 19, followed by the football final on September 2 (it will be on the last Sunday in August from next year on).

The GAA season has been squeezed at either end of the championship, resulting in a substantial reduction in media exposure and promotional opportunities.

The build-up to the Allianz hurling League final would normally run through next week, but instead rugby gets a free run as Leinster and Munster prepare for their big games.

For reasons that run counter to all sensible promotional concepts, the All-Ireland championships are being finished earlier in order to facilitate a theoretical improvement in club schedules.

It won't happen because curbing the inter-county game is not the solution to a problem that's caused essentially by poor local planning.

Subscribe to The Throw-In, Independent.ie's weekly GAA podcast in association with Allianz, for the best in GAA discussion and analysis every week, with some of the biggest names in football and hurling from Joe Brolly, Tomás Ó'Sé and John Mullane.

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Irish Independent

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