Two members of the Dr Crokes football management, along with half-forward Brian Looney, would prefer if the All-Ireland club championship was wrapped up within the calendar year, describing the 12-week gap between their Munster decider and All-Ireland semi-final as “crazy”.
Crokes meet Mullinalaghta on Saturday week in what will be the Killarney club’s fifth All-Ireland semi-final appearance since 2012. They believe the competition could be concluded far earlier than is presently the case.
“By the time we play Mullinalaghta, it will have been 12 weeks since we won Munster. And then whoever wins on February 16 has to wait another month for the final. It is crazy,” said Crokes selector Niall O’Callaghan.
Dr Crokes had five players — Micheál Burns, Gavin White, Shane Murphy, Michael Potts, and David Shaw — training with Kerry over Christmas, with O’Callaghan expressing frustration that the club scene isn’t done and dusted by mid-December so as to allow these players to focus exclusively on college and county in the early weeks of the new year.
“We had fellas over Christmas training six nights a week between Kerry and the Crokes. And were we, hypothetically speaking, to get as far as St Patrick’s Day, we’d have Kerry club championship a fortnight after that. Sure, that is crazy stuff. In all of that, where is the fairness for the players, where is the resting, where is the cognisance of player burnout.”
Half-forward Brian Looney is in favour of having an All-Ireland club champion crowned within the calendar year. “Ideally, to have it rolled off within the 12 months would be great. I know the club finals on St Patrick’s Day is iconic, but that whole period of playing eight or nine games in the 10 weeks before Christmas and then having to wait seven weeks for another game is quite difficult to manage.”
Crokes selector Vince Casey added: “You would like to get it done in the calendar year, from a players’ point of view more than anything else. [Croke Park] should just pick a date in mid-December and work backwards from there.”