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Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 23 September 2020
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Seamus Hickey believes it's time to start from scratch with the GAA calendar

The Limerick Allstar feels too many teams are put at a disadvantage.

Seamus Hickey has called for a radical rethink on GAA fixtures.
Seamus Hickey has called for a radical rethink on GAA fixtures.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

AT LEAST SEAMUS Hickey can enjoy his Christmas dinner.

For the footballers of Cahir and Loughmore-Castleiney in Tipperary, the traditional dinner of turkey and ham is likely to be replaced with pasta and chicken as players get set to replay the county’s senior football final on St. Stephen’s Day.

The fact they’re even playing at this time of year at all, when their inter-county football exploits ended in late July, serves to highlight just how out of control the GAA fixture calendar has become.

And while Limerick’s Seamus Hickey commends those who are trying to tweak the traditional timetables to suit the modern game, the Allstar suggests that, perhaps, the best solution may be to rip it up and start again.

“In a wider sense, I’d love to see the entire calendar revised, I’d love to see the inter-county championship run in a way that club championships could be run in a healthy way.

“I think the calendar year discussion is a good discussion, it really needs to be looked at.

“Carrying from one year to another where your club team doesn’t finish until after the county team has started the League…I don’t see that as a healthy way.

“At the moment, it’s probably driven by tradition in getting the 17 March date in Croke Park. We probably have to revise an awful lot of what we do.”

Hickey even questioned the need to continue the tradition of hosting hurling’s showpiece event so late in the year.

“Even the All-Ireland finals in September…we probably have to take a good look at those and ask why?

“Cork played three games this year and were out of the Championship in three months. Playing three games in three months and Wexford played maybe four or five games in four or five weeks – there has to be a better way, I think.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could start with a blank canvas?

“Let’s plan this as best as we can. Trying to fix what is there is noble but maybe this committee – with a carte blanche – could come up with something really original and really different.”

The Murroe-Boher man has a vested interest of course as the hurling calendar is currently structured in a way that means winning the Munster championship almost puts you at a disadvantage.

“It’s the time, the gap between games. That is definitely the problem. But, that said, we’re all parochial, we all love our provincial Championships.

“Munster champions waiting five or six weeks to play an All-Ireland semi-final is a scheduling problem. You can use it as an excuse, if you want, when you look at Kilkenny who have the same wait after winning a Leinster final.

“But I don’t think it’s good for players to be putting in all of that preparation and to have three games in three months.”

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Steve O'Rourke

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