Portugal trip puts Wexford hurlers in training camp firing line
Another county is in probable breach of the ban on training camps as it emerged that the Wexford hurlers have also set up in Portugal for the week.
Last year's Leinster finalists flew out earlier this week and will not return until the weekend as they intensify their championship preparations with a five-day warm-weather camp. The Armagh footballers are also out in Portugal this week, in direct contravention of rule 6.22 (b) of the Official Guide.
That rule, which states that "senior inter-county panels shall not be permitted to go on training weekends, or training of longer duration, after the final of their respective National League having been played, except during the 10 days period prior to a senior Championship game, or during the 17 days prior to an All-Ireland senior final," has been in place for a few years now but without a penalty, it was routinely breached.
At last September's Special Congress, however, a penalty was written into rule whereby the offending county would lose a home league match next spring.
That is potentially a financial penalty for a county, especially if they have an overnight stay and have a distance to travel.
There is also the sale of programmes and other goods at the grounds, the benefit to the local economy, and ground rental to take in, on top of advertising opportunities. But counties have clearly decided that the benefits outweigh the risks.
The GAA are keen that the rule is observed so that the impact on club fixtures is minimal. They are understood to be examining other potential breaches in recent weeks with Mayo spending a weekend in Carton House recently andDonegal gathering in Belfast for a three-day camp this weekend, both outside the permitted time.
The GAA are also turning down most challenge match requests outside the Monday-Wednesday window.