There's too much emphasis on inter-county training - Meyler
With his knowledge of the weekly schedules his son David faces as a current Irish international and Hull City soccer player, new Cork hurling manager John Meyler is well-placed to analyse the load that his own and other inter-county players are weighted with heading into a new season. And his assessment, just a few weeks into the job, is that it's "too much".
"He (David) does his six or seven weeks of pre-season when he goes back from the start of July to mid-August, then the rest is just topping up. That's really Saturday after Saturday after Saturday and then cup matches thrown in on Tuesday nights.
"There is no time for training, there is only time for recovery, analysis, relaxation in a way and minding niggles. That's going to play a huge part in these matches," he said of a schedule that will see Cork potentially play eight weeks out of nine if they are to reach a league final at the end of March.
"The expectation levels, the training levels for the objective is too much. We maybe over-train. It's to get the balance but in soccer every club finishes the same week more or less except for a FA Cup final or something like that.
"(Ideally) you need to finish at the same time for holidays so every county has the same pre-season. Then you're into the matches and the structure of the matches will determine the pre-season.
"It gives players a chance to map out where they are going to be. They might have a free Sunday whereas before it wasn't as structured.
Meyler believes the new fixtures programme can bring some order to hurling counties in that respect but is reluctant to offer a view that it is a better way. But regular matches will solve some problems, he determined.
"You just keep playing matches. I know that from my own young fella. You just keep playing Saturday after Saturday. It's over, you move on and 'what's the next game?'
"There will be less focus on before, a lot of focus and analysis on next week. As distinct from professional sport where it's about your next game, the GAA is about your last one where you over-analyse the games and talking about a match that was one, two, three, four weeks ago whereas now you've another match.
"After Kilkenny, you've Wexford the following week ,then Clare, then Tipperary, then Waterford and then bang, you're into the Munster championship. There's not much time to think and talk."
Cork host Kilkenny in their first inter-county game in the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh under lights on Saturday night but he doesn't feel any novelty about the occasion.
"There's not much novelty about playing Kilkenny. While it's the first (league) match in five years at Páirc Uí Chaoimh and the first Cork match in the stadium, it's going to be extremely competitive."
Meyler was previously a selector with Cork in the early 2000s and went on to manage Wexford, Kerry and Carlow.
Having come in as U-21 manager and a senior selector in 2017, he senses "unfinished business" among his players who won a Munster title but lost another All-Ireland semi-final as provincial champions, this time to Waterford.
"We introduced five new players last year, the four under-21 players and Colm Spillane. They really made a huge contribution in the league and also the Munster and All-Ireland championship. Then the wheels fell off against Waterford in the last 15 minutes. We've got to rectify that. But that is last year, this is this year. We must move on," he reflected, stressing the need to find greater depth to the Cork squad in the five matches to come.