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Burnout? Try 11 games in just 31 days

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Patrick Kelly

Patrick Kelly

SPORTSFILE

Patrick Kelly

Niall O'Meara (Tipperary) and Patrick Kelly (Clare) were asked the following question as part of player profiles in the match programme for last Sunday's game in Ennis: "What would you like to change about the game?"

The answers were very interesting.

O'Meara: "Play more games during the summer months. I think I played 11 games in January, which is more than I will probably play between June and August.

Kelly: "Play the League from January to March and shorten the inter-county season to July. Play club championship games after that."

While the suggestion of Kelly that the All-Ireland championship be completed by July would raise major challenges in terms of promoting hurling, he is obviously frustrated by the lack of time available for club action. But then he's one of many who feel the same.

The revelation by O'Meara, a student at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, that he played 11 games in January underlines yet again how crazy the fixture programme is.

Apart from the fact that January isn't exactly the most suitable month for hurling, 11 games in 31 days is complete overload.

Everybody knows that, yet young players find themselves facing an impossible schedule at certain times of the year.

Will it ever change? You won't find anyone who agrees with subjecting players to exhausting programmes but on it goes anyway. It's as if a flawed system has taken such a firm grip that it can't be prised it away.

It's something for new president Aogan O Fearghail to focus on.

Irish Independent