Cork star Alan Cadogan feels there is a need to extend the Munster SHC round-robin phase by another week to give players more time to recover. The Douglas man read with interest John Kiely’s comments this week and following Limerick’s recent defeat to Tipperary where he bemoaned his team’s schedule of their three final round matches coming in the space of 14 days.
It’s Cork’s turn to face the same gauntlet next year, their three consecutive games from Round 3 coming against Waterford away, Clare at home and Tipperary away. Their bye in 2020 comes in Round 2.
The Munster Council this year introduced a break weekend for all teams after Round 2 but Cadogan would like to see another one added to allow players to cope with the intense six-week round-robin campaign.
“They tweaked it a bit this year with two weeks off. It’s (the format) extremely tough on the body. I saw John Kiely say having three games in 14 days was extremely tough on players. It’s physically demanding. I notice after matches that you’re mentally tired because you’re preparing.
“You lose one game and there’s no time to cry about it; you have to get back up again. You’re not going to do that much in a week so there are a few tweaks that can be made.
“From a spectator’s view, it’s brilliant. In my profession as a teacher, I was on holidays for the last two games but fellas still have to get up and go to work in the morning, fellas who are in offices or work for themselves and can’t afford to take that time off.
But, look, I really enjoyed this year, probably because I was just coming back. This is my first year experiencing the week-in, week-out and I’m thoroughly enjoying it and my hurling at the moment.
"The Munster Championship is a battlefield and any of the teams can win but there are probably a few small tweaks that can be made because it’s extremely tiring on people expecting them to go the following week.”
Players should be given room to more than just recover, says Cadogan.
“You’re not going to do that much in between games. You’re recovering Monday, you’ll do a bit Tuesday and a bit on Thursday or Friday and all that bank of fitness is done back from January to April. In May, you’re preparing for the first round of the championship and then it’s just week-in, week-out after that.”
Last month, Cadogan was on a Cork side that beat Limerick in the LIT Gaelic Grounds and watched on as Tipperary dismissed his teammates at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, but he has an inkling the home venue may be a factor in Limerick’s favour in Sunday’s Munster final.
Whoever pulls through faces a four-week break until their All-Ireland semi-final, a gap that Cork haven’t managed to bridge in their last three times as provincial champions - 2014, ’17 and ’18.
As Cork await Laois or Westmeath, the losers of the Joe McDonagh Cup final, in tomorrow week’s preliminary quarter-final, the 26-year-old hopes the new route suits Cork but appreciates there will be challenges for the would-be Munster champions as well as them.
“We don’t make excuses. If we don’t perform, we don’t perform. If you can take away a lesson from every game… for example, Peter O’Mahony comes to mind, how many Heineken Cup semi-finals has he lost (five).
“But you still have to keep coming back. You still have to be mentally strong enough and there are a lot of guys inside there who are chasing the same goal.
“That four or five weeks for whoever wins on Sunday, Tipp or Limerick, they’re going to have that break. Whether it works for their advantage or not… I remember one of the years where we had five weeks off to an All-Ireland semi-final and you’re thinking how you are going to manage it.
“Do management go hard for two weeks, do they rest? All that kind of man-management with a panel of 30 players.
“Who knows the system might suit us going to play next week then hopefully the quarter-final the following week. There are pros and cons to it.”
Alan Cadogan was speaking at the launch of the new Leisureplex teens and students package. For more information, visit www.leisureplex.ie