Kerry board rejects ‘dangerous’ fixture call

Kerry GAA secretary Peter Twiss has warned against a “highly dangerous” proposal from a senior football club in the county of postponing all SFC games between July’s Munster final and Kerry’s exit from the All-Ireland Football Championship.

The Rathmore motion, proposed by chairman Donal Murphy, aimed to end the frustration and uncertainty for senior club players in the summer, who were “demoralised” and wanted some certainty in their schedules.

But the proposal was met with a stinging rebuke at a board meeting Monday night by Twiss, who said the county would be reduced to a “laughing stock” if it was voted through.

“What we are trying to do is create more weekends for championship matches, not less. To say that this championship weekend can be used for league games is crazy, because there is no comparison between league and championship, because you don’t need your inter-county players available for league games. Championship weekends are just precious, and we don’t have enough of them.

“For us, to actually come away and take away one we have, ourselves, would be shooting ourselves in the foot.”

The Kerry official added that the county was “very lucky” to be able to finish its competitions in time this year.

“I can assure delegates — in fact, I can nearly bet on it — that if the same scenario happened next year, and we didn’t play in the weekend after the Munster final, and Kerry reached the All-Ireland final, there would be teams that would be unable to represent Kerry (in Munster competition) because we would not be able to finish our championships in time. So I am issuing a dire warning of passing this motion as it would create a dangerous scenario.”

He added that Kerry officials are meeting GAA chief Pauric Duffy in Limerick this week on issues including calendar year proposals on fixtures. “If this motion is passed, Mr Duffy will say to me ‘Peter, what are you on about, didn’t your county board wipe out a championship weekend that ye had, so don’t be asking me for more weekends’. So from a credibility point of view, this motion would be highly dangerous as well. I respect that everybody is entitled to their views and the clubs will decide but I would really urge caution on this one.”

The Rathmore chairman — a father of Kerry defender Paul Murphy, explained: “This motion has come from the players and management of Rathmore.

“This year for example there were 15 teams ready to go into action on the weekend after the Munster final, and because it was a draw, the mat is pulled out from under their feet. I think it is very unfair on players, and there has been five Munster finals draws since 2002, so this is not a once-off occurrence that club players are very frustrated and demoralised.

“I hear them saying we are going to go to the US next year, because this year all they got was two county league games, one in July and one in August, and that is not enough to keep them at home.

“They want to have a life, they want to plan holidays and they are prepared to go hell for leather in the championship, once Kerry exit the All-Ireland series, so we are proposing that we have no championship between the Munster final and Kerry’s exit from All-Ireland — it makes sense to the players who would at least have some certainty restored into their lives.”

The Rathmore motion was roundly defeated, only getting three votes in favour.

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