Donegal captain Michael Murphy believes a straight knock-out format for the All-Ireland senior football championship is the compromise that inter-county has to make.
However, Murphy believes adequate time will have to be given to county footballers to prepare for do-or-die games.
With Donegal due to face Tyrone in an Ulster quarter-final, preparation is even more important for Declan Bonner’s side.
Murphy believes the county can run off their championships as before - a group section followed by knock-out. If the compromise is the time period for clubs, then it should be the competition structure for counties, he argues.
“Maybe a straight knock-out is the way to go this year in order for us to just compromise and get football, but at the same time get enough time to prepare for this," says Murphy.
“I think that’s the initial fear I have at the moment in terms of being a club player and a county player: is there going to be a window of opportunity to prepare for the back end of the club into the county season?
“We need to compromise because nothing is going to be perfect in this season in terms of getting a perfect solution. But I do feel we need to look at the straight knock-out and potentially create a bit of excitement. Something different, something new.”
The Donegal SFC has been hard-fought in recent seasons and there is a chance it could impact on the county’s Championship preparations. Three to four weeks of an exclusive gap between the county final and the first inter-county game would be enough, reckons Murphy.
“I suppose the fear is you’re going to be given a 10-day turnaround or something because we haven’t seen each other as a Donegal team in how long now. You can count the amount of months and just to have 10 days for a potential one-off game whether that’s against Tyrone or they decide to go down another knock-out type of structure... you would like to have three or four weeks to prepare for that.”
The integrity of the club championship is important to the Glenswilly man. “I see no reason why we can’t as county players, club players, and everything, come together, play with our club over that six, seven, eight-week period and then get our period of lead-in to inter-county championship and potentially a club league can remain there and players can get even more games then.”
- Michael Murphy was promoting the final two episodes of AIB’s GAA series “The Toughest Trade”. The Donegal captain’s swap with former Wales rugby star Shane Williams can be viewed on Virgin Media One this Monday at 9pm.