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Should an All-Ireland football final be played only a week after semi-final ties?

Dublin and Cork are back out in action on Saturday after last weekend’s wins.

Dublin boss Tom Gray and Cork manager Keith Ricken at today's EirGrid All-Ireland U20 football media event.
Dublin boss Tom Gray and Cork manager Keith Ricken at today's EirGrid All-Ireland U20 football media event.
Image: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

FRESH FROM THEIR All-Ireland semi-final successes last weekend, Dublin and Cork have scant time to come down from the high of those victories and start considering their next assignment.

The EirGrid U20 football decider in Portlaoise on Saturday is a week after Dublin’s last four success in Longford against Galway and six days after Cork’s victory in Tullamore over Tyrone.

The general trend in the GAA is for a break in the schedule before an All-Ireland decider, the U20 hurling final will take place three weeks after this weekend’s semi-final ties.

But the U20 football action will conclude on Saturday and Dublin boss Tom Gray would have liked some extra time to prepare.

“It’s not easy. I wouldn’t be a big fan, both from a coaching point of view but also from an emotional point of view. It’s not ideal having a seven day turnaround. If you look at the fixture list, there’s not an awful lot happening in August. I don’t know why the final couldn’t be on the week after next to be honest.

Dublin players celebrate Dublin players after their Leinster final victory over Laois. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“So it’s difficult but look it is what it is. It’s the same for Cork, they actually have a day less of a turnaround. We just have to deal with it and move on.

“There’s a few things that didn’t go well for us on Saturday (against Galway) that we’d be aiming to work on those this week to the extent that we can. Really you’re going from game to game, so the idea of spending a huge amount of time focusing on the opposition how to stop them, this isn’t a professional team.

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“This is a team that will do a little bit of work tonight and very little on Thursday night. We then play a match on Saturday and hopefully what we’ve done in the months and weeks leading up to it will be enough.”

Cork boss Keith Ricken can understand the concerns over the short lay-off but also points to the benefits in wrapping up a championship by the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Cork celebrate winning Cork players celebrate their Munster final victory over Kerry. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“To some degree people could argue that but I would argue the opposite. They (the players) are used to having these turnarounds because everything they do at minor championship level and U21 championship level in club at home and in colleges and stuff, there’s all these six to seven day turnarounds.

“The other advantage of having it completed now at the very start of August is there’s no come back into the club championship. These guys are club players first and they’ll be club players last. They must give to their clubs and from next week on they’ll all be back playing club championships.

“We’re finished and we’re not crossing anybody. We made a golden rule with our lads is if they feel they wanted to play a match with their club, they go and play the match with their club. We weren’t stopping fellas from playing or holding up seasons.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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