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Fixing All-Ireland senior finals for mid August a GAA target to ease club chaos

Aogán Ó Fearghail feels it’s key to tighten up the season.

Due to a replay, the All-Ireland SFC finished this year on 1 October.
Due to a replay, the All-Ireland SFC finished this year on 1 October.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

AIMING TO COMPLETE the All-Ireland senior championships by mid August must become a target in the GAA.

That’s the view of GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail as he has stressed the need to provide ‘enormous space’ for club fixtures to be played and end the current chaos that is affecting players all over the country.

Ó Fearghail has described Pauric Duffy’s plans to revamp the All-Ireland senior football championship as ‘the most important event’ currently in the GAA.

Duffy’s proposal will go before GAA Congress next February.

“If we continue for example in my own province, playing a game every Sunday over a long elongated period of time, that is never going to help anything within the association,” remarked Ó Fearghail, speaking in Dubai at the 2016 Opel GAA-GPA All-Stars tour.

“We need to tighten that. We’re going to have to finish our football and our hurling by mid August and that will give us enormous space. By doing it that way we’ll have a more exciting championship I believe.

“You have to accept that if we’re going to tighten, it’s not the number of games, it’s the period over the calendar by which you play them.

“I think the most important event for the GAA at the moment is the current proposal for the football championship. I said it very recently to management, nothing should deflect us from that.

“We are at a crossroads stage in the GAA with regards our clubs and our inter-county. We need to address it and the current proposals are, in my opinion, the way to go.

“I agree with them completely. I think we need to bring them into the GAA, a growing number of people agree with that.”

Ó Fearghail reported positive recent feedback from different counties in relation to the proposals.

“We’ve had a lot of good discussions. Myself and Pauric met with the county chairmen, they were very positive to this.

“The concerns they raised were dealt with and answered and they accepted that. We’d a lovely discussion at the Central Council meeting very recently.

“You know they’ve endorsed it completely. That doesn’t mean that every county is going to go and vote for it and we know that.

“But we’re hearing very strong vibes from the counties. They realise that they’re going to have challenges in there as well. They’re going to have to make changes but that’s the nature of it.”

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