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Is it time for GAA to stop the 'nonsense' and end 'ridiculous' length of club championship?

Limerick hurler David Breen reckons change is needed.

David Breen and Na Piarsaigh players celebrate after their Munster club final win.
David Breen and Na Piarsaigh players celebrate after their Munster club final win.
Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

THE LENGTH OF the GAA club season has been branded as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘nonsense’ by Limerick senior hurler David Breen.

The 28 year-old was yesterday honoured with the Munster club hurler of the year award for 2013 for his exploits with the Na Piarsaigh team who won the provincial title last November before losing to Portumna in their recent All-Ireland semi-final.

After enduring a nine-week wait for the game, Breen believes it is time to finish the club championships in a calendar year rather than sticking with the traditional St Patrick’s Day slot.

“I just think the length of the season is ridiculous, especially when you take county lads who are coming back in November 2012 and then you keep going playing with your county and then your club and you are finishing up in February 2014. It is nonsense.

“It is one thing to say that it is about tradition and Paddy’s Day. It is something fantastic that players dream about but at the end of the day it is constant loading, constant training, constant driving for guys who are away.

“The fact that there is nine weeks between matches does not mean that players take a break for those nine weeks. Managers just keep going and you keep training away.

“I know it is great running out on Paddy’s Day but it is a bloody long wait until then. And the feedback from players is that everyone would like to have it done and dusted in the calendar year.”

Expert View

Breen works as a physio in the Sports Surgery Clinic in Santry in Dublin. He is set to go under the knife soon to correct a knee problem and believes there is a wider problem of GAA players being flogged which impacts on the longevity of their careers.

“A lot of GAA players will suck it up and get on with it. But by the time things come to a head and guys are going in for knee replacements and hip replacements they have hung up the boots a long time ago and no one is listening to them at that stage.

The whole issue is brushed under the carpet. It needs to be regulated. Guys careers are being cut short because guys are flogging themselves, not taking adequate down time.”

AIB #TheToughest Awards Na Piarsaigh's David Breen. Source: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

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Fintan O'Toole

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