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'It could be carnage': CPA issue warning over Master Fixtures Plan

“We need more leadership and direction from Croke Park.”

THE CLUB PLAYERS Association has called for senior officials in the GAA to ensure April is implemented as a club-only month after the Master Fixtures Plan was released last week.

Declan Brennan and Michael Briody Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The only inter-county fixtures scheduled for April 2018 are the National League Division 1 and 2 football finals, which take place on 1 April.

The majority of county sides won’t have any competitive fixtures for six weekends, which in theory provides an opportunity for club championship games to take place.

But with the condensed inter-county season kicking off in May, many managers are against the idea of releasing players to their clubs in the weeks leading up to the championship.

Last month, Tipperary boss Liam Kearns voiced his opposition to the notion that players would be released to their clubs for the entire month of April.

“They’re talking about the championship starting on the first week of May,” he said.

“Are they seriously saying that we’re going to release players to their clubs for the whole of April and then try to play the first round of championship in May? That doesn’t work. The month before your championship match is a crucial month.”

In a statement released last night, CPA chairman Micheal Briody said the GAA must enforce the club-only period in April to allow club championships take place.

Liam Kearns Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Briody said the GAA should provide guidance and “where appropriate sanction” to ensure counties can run competitions during April.

“We received a copy of it and associated documentation upon request on Thursday,” he said. “There are positive developments there for clubs, in terms of available weekends for club activity.

“We were however disappointed at the attitude expressed that individual counties may more or less do as they wish in April without any intervention by GAA management.”

“We need more leadership and direction from Croke Park on that front. Croke Park have brought about these changes through Congress, and we want to see them get fully behind the changes and do everything in their power to make sure there is every chance of it all working. Are we seeing that?

“Leadership has to come from the top on this. If they leave it to 32 different county boards and clubs within each county as was suggested last week, well it could be carnage. What happens if county managers for example decide not to release their players, or if club fixtures are not put in place during that time?

“We are concerned that club players may just say enough is enough.

“The real danger here is that clubs are still at the bottom of the pile and are depending on the actions of others. Will we be back here again next year with the same problems and maybe a few new ones?”

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