An interesting article from Gavin Cummiskey of the Irish Times on the problems of the club scene in Dublin with many club players left with no Championship game for almost four months since their last game.
THE PRICE of Dublin’s intercounty success in both football and hurling has become a genuine threat to the county champions, in both codes, competing in the 2011 Leinster club championship.
Dublin County Board chairman Andy Kettle confirmed as much yesterday when speaking to The Irish Times. Kettle also explained this to club delegates at a recent monthly meeting.
“Yes, there is a genuine fear of not being able to compete in Leinster unless the clubs show some leeway with regards to fixtures,” said Kettle.
“And I said as much to the club delegates.”
The crux of the problem is the recent decision by the Disputes Resolution Authority that upheld Ballyboden St Enda’s right, under rule 6.23, not to play their football championship qualifier match against St Mary’s, Saggart, because it was eight days after the Dublin hurlers’ Leinster semi-final against Galway.
This was on the premise that three intercounty hurlers (Conal Keaney, Simon Lambert and Shane Durkin) also play football for Ballyboden and were unavailable under the 13-day rule.
The Dublin County Board wanted Ballyboden to play the fixture without the trio. The fixture has yet to played.
“The repercussions of that ruling means no club has to play without their county footballers or hurlers,” Kettle continued.
This even applies to a football team which claims to be without a player due to his commitment to the intercounty hurling panel.
“Or vice versa,” Kettle continued. “So, for example, the Raheny hurlers don’t have to play without Davie Henry. Nor would St Vincent’s hurlers without Diarmuid Connolly. It has put the (Dublin) CCCC (fixtures committee) in a very difficult position.”
The situation is compounded by clubs not having to uphold their last two Dublin league fixtures without their county players.
“So, if either the Dublin football or hurling team progress to September we will be faced with an unprecedented fixture logjam,” added Kettle.
The Dublin football champions’ opening Leinster club championship fixture is scheduled to be against the Meath champions on October 23rd.
The Dublin hurling champions are supposed to be out against the Westmeath champions on October 30th.
Kettle also revealed both football manager Pat Gilroy and hurling manager Anthony Daly are entitled to 20 days’ uninterrupted preparation before an All-Ireland final should either side advance that far.
The Dublin club football championship is stalled at round three, with another round to be played before the quarter-finals.
“That means a club like Ballyboden with football and hurling commitments could still have to play 12 games to fulfil all their fixtures.”
In the 2008/09 campaign, when Kilmacud Crokes eventually won an All-Ireland title, they were forced to play four games in 13 days due to a drawn county final and subsequent draw in Leinster.
At present many senior club panels have stopped training and released players for holidays.
“You can’t keep players on red alert for the whole summer when it is unlikely they will see any action,” said Crokes manager Paddy Carr. “It becomes a 15-month season otherwise.
“We know there is a chance we may have to play a lot of games in quick succession. The real shame is the two months between winning a Leinster club title and an All-Ireland semi-final. Then there is another six weeks to an All-Ireland final.”