Saturday 23 February 2019

Kearns demands change to help college players

Tipperary manager Liam Kearns. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Tipperary manager Liam Kearns. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Tipperary football boss Liam Kearns believes it's impossible for players to serve many masters and feels they are ultimately the ones that lose out given the hectic schedule between League and third-level competitions at this time of the year.

With the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cup running side by side with pre-season competitions and the start of the Leagues in both codes, Kearns insists that players are being "flogged to death" and has called for some measures to be put into place to avoid such scenarios arriving year after year.

"I see Brian Cody and other managers giving out about it. I see the Dublin manager (Mattie Kenny) saying he has 24 players involved in Sigerson and Fitzgibbon this year," Kearns told Extra-Time on Tipp FM.

"I'm fortunate that I only have two or three, Emmet Moloney and Paul Maher and their schedule is that Paul Maher is being asked to play Fitzgibbon on Sunday, Fitzgibbon on Wednesday and then with us on Sunday for the League.

"Emmet Moloney is the same. After this Sunday, they'll be asked to play more Fitzgibbon and Sigerson leading into the second round. It just doesn't make sense to me."

Kearns is the latest inter-county boss to add his two cents to a growing debate at a time of the year when player burnout is in vogue and the Premier supremo is adamant that the GAA "need to look at it".

He believes "you're asking too much of players" who will come under increased pressure from inter-county and college managers in a busy period where they are forced to juggle commitments.

Kearns believes players are at a serious disadvantage - and at an increased risk of injury - as they go through different training regimes and the Kerry native feels that the only way which any player can cope with the demands is if efficient communication lines are open between respective managers.

"In fairness to the college managers and the inter-county managers, we are liasing with each other all the time. We'd give them time off, they mightn't be with us at different times," Kearns said

"But the point is, they shouldn't be asked to serve two and three masters at the same time, it's a very hard thing to do. The managers are doing their best for the players, both college and county.

"We all recognise that you can't ask players to train and play and train at different levels. Remember, Sigerson and Fitzgibbon want them as sharp as can be whereas we're working on stamina work, it's a different type of training that they're being asked to do."

Irish Independent

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