Dr Crokes’ Eoin Brosnan and Castlebar Mitchels’ Ciarán Naughton back the Football Review Committee’s recommendation, endorsed by GAA director general Páraic Duffy, to finish the competition before Christmas instead of the February semi-finals and St Patrick’s Day final.
“I remember Derek Kavanagh from Nemo brought a proposal to Congress that was shot down to have the All-Ireland brought forward by two weeks,” said Brosnan. “I was in favour of it as it is unfair on club players to be playing up to Christmas on bad pitches. You’d have to tighten up the inter-county season. From Kerry’s point of view, if they don’t make the National League semi-finals they have an 11-week gap until Championship. That’s something that needs to be addressed.”
Naughton said: “Everything should finish in the calendar year. From September last year, every game was within a fortnight of each other and everyone knew what they were doing. You could build momentum.
“Whereas you win the Connacht final and it’s great, but you want to play the next week or two weeks later.”
Appearing at an AIB event to promote the semi-finals, Brosnan, Naughton and St Vincent’s midfielder Eámon Fennell played down the significance of the black card.
However, Ballinderry’s Kevin McGuckin said the club competition should have continued under the old rules: “It’s going to be as difficult for the referees as it is for the players, but I would hate to see an interpretation by a referee ruining a game.”