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2018 will be a difficult year for club fixtures

Thursday, 4 January 2018

TOM Maher says that 2018 will be a difficult year for club fixtures due to the new inter-county systems but at least club players have clarity as to when the inter county games will be played.

This is what the secretary of the Tipperary CCC outlined in his thoughts in a report to the Tipperary GAA Convention last month.

He said that based on recent decisions by GAA Congress to introduce the super eights in Gaelic football and the round robin in the Munster and Leinster hurling championships, problems will arise if Tipperary are successful at inter-county senior or Under -21 levels. However on a positive side he said the new decisions have given clarity to club players as to when the inter county games will be played which was a problem since the backdoor format was introduced in 1997.

"The new proposals passed at special congress this year for running the hurling inter county championship, coupled with the new football proposals passed at Congress in February, will give clarity to clubs. Players will be able to take holidays in the certainty that they will not miss championship games in senior and intermediate while they are away. Players will also be able to go on their J1s again happy in the knowledge that they will not miss club championship games," said Tom.

But he warned. "The other side of the story is that 13 weeks max is what is available to run club championship games that go forward to provincial championships. These thirteen weeks make no allowance for various happenings that can occur like funerals, weddings, inclement weather etc etc or the time required for the preparation of our inter county teams. That is generally enough in other counties where championships are run in about six weeks in both hurling and football which comes to about twelve in total.

"It might be a little more in non dual counties or where there is no crossover of players between the codes," he said.

He mentioned the changes made by the Tipperary Board last November.

"Tipperary in 2017 had a total of 21 rounds, eleven in hurling and ten in football. Changes that have been made for 2018 will have a total of seventeen rounds, eleven in hurling and six in football.

If Tipperary are unsuccessful in hurling and football at inter county level, the seventeen rounds will be reached but if Tipperary reach the All-Ireland Senior hurling final or our U-21 hurling team reach the All-Ireland final, it will be a real challenge and a challenge that might not be met unless mid week games are played," said the Moyne Templetuohy man who met his committe on thirty two occasions throughout 2017.

"Depending on the number of games that will need to be played mid week and the availability of lights, games will need to commence at 5.30pm to allow Tipperary complete its championships in time as set by the Munster Council.

Clubs were made aware of this from the county committe meeting last November where they did not voice any disagreement," added Tom.

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