'It's absolutely ridiculous and stupid' - Pat Spillane slams call to move All-Ireland finals to August
Kerry legend Pat Spillane believes the GAA will lose ground to 'sexy' rugby by condensing the inter-county season.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Allianz League Sunday programme, Spillane was mystified as to why a motion to bring the All-Ireland finals forward a month to August was overwhelmingly passed by the GAA Congress.
The main aim of the motion is to provide more time for counties to run off their club championships.
Spillane believes the decision will erode the GAA's relevance and will boost participation in rival sports like rugby and soccer.
“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous and stupid,” Spillane said.
“Do you know why? We’re taking our main product - inter-county football - out of the shop window for five months, which gives a clear run to the other rivals sporting organisations. The rugby and soccer.
“At the moment, rugby is pretty much all year around.
“It’s sexy, it’s in, it’s hot.
“It’s what the youngsters want to play, it’s drawing huge crowds.
“What drives a sport is the top teams, top players. Youngsters want to emulate them as role models.
“I think we’re cutting off our nose to spite our face by taking the game out of the shop window for five months.
“I think we need more, rather than less.
“But I think if you bring all the stakeholders together, from club to county board, to county managers, to provincial, to central council, I think you could have a fixture, that both could go hand in hand.”
Spillane was also highly critical of the failure to pass the motion which would have led to the scrapping of the rule which precludes players under 17 togging out for senior sides.
“It’s the death knell for small, rural clubs who are struggling to field 15 fellas' at adult level,” Spillane added.
“It’s based on spurious grounds.
“Clubs are not going to be able to field senior teams around the county in rural, peripheral regions in the next couple of years because of this decision.”