Tipperary senior football manager David Power says he is “flabbergasted” by the GAA’s stance on county teams training before September 14.
The GAA has prohibited such practice, confirming players who do so on GAA property will not be insured. However, they do not intend policing it although GAA president John Horan said they would like any teams doing so to be reported to Croke Park.
Power hopes there is compromise and GAA allow players to resume training with county set-ups after their clubs’ championship interested have ended.
“That’s the one thing I’ve been talking to the county board about. We want players playing with their clubs but if you take August 16 is the end of the round-robin in hurling in Tipperary and the following week is the end of it in football. From those dates on, you’re going to have players freed up and I think inter-county squads should be allowed to form back to train those fellas.
“By the end of August, the quarter-finals will be done and dusted and you will have a lot of players who have finished with their clubs. I think it would be very important officially to have them back training.
“I was flabbergasted by the reply Croke Park gave last week - ‘please let us know if counties are training but there’s going to be no punishment!’ That was an incredible statement for me to be hearing.
“I think there needs to be clarity because insurance is an issue. I think there should be a rule that if players are gone out of their club competition they should be allowed back to train with their county squad. I think that’s a fairly straightforward request.” Power can understand why a backdoor hasn’t been applied to the All-Ireland SFC. It means everything is on the line when Tipperary face Clare in a Munster quarter-final on Halloween weekend.
“It’s a tough one. I think it would be unfair to compare football and hurling because hurling only has 10 teams. Croke Park had a lot more flexibility with hurling whereas it’s 32 teams in football.
“The only way they would have been able to provide a second chance was an open draw. Now you’re going to have big teams going out first day out in Ulster but what I’m glad about is that it will be done this year. If it was going into 2021, it would have knock-on effects for both the club and county calendar.
“Then again, this is three months and that’s a long time still, and if we’re going to have another spike we might have nothing to be talking about.” Power compliments Tipperary’s competitions control committee in formulating a meaningful club championship structure.
“The county finals are on September 20 and to be fair to the county board they have done a great job putting those fixtures together. Every club is guaranteed three matches. Football doesn’t have quarter-finals and hurling is but overall the clubs are getting a fair deal in Tipperary.
“From the county final, we will have three to four week run-in to the League and we will need it. What’s going to be rough and hopefully we will have this problem is if we are to get to a Munster final it will be five games in five weeks. That’s a fairly tough schedule.
“Look, we’re going to have three competitive football matches, hopefully, and that’s something to train for. I was worried you might have no league and just a straight knock-out match but now you will have two more matches.”