Former Clare manager Tony Considine has urged the GAA to “hold firm” and not accede to the GPA’s request that inter-county training sessions before September 14 be covered by the player injury scheme.
Inter-county panels who have or intend to resume collective training before the permitted mid-September date do so at their own peril as the GAA has suspended its player injury insurance scheme for county squads until September 14.
The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) want this suspension lifted, but Considine is adamant that if managers and players are determined to flout the inter-county training ban, then they should be made to shoulder all attendant risks.
The former Clare hurling boss, who is currently managing Limerick club Kilmallock, believes any backtracking by the GAA would do a “massive disservice” to clubs.
“I have been very critical of the GAA in the past, but I am fully behind their stance on this issue. The GAA is absolutely spot on with this one,” Considine told the Irish Examiner.
“The GAA has said to county players, September 14 is the date for inter-county training and while you can train away with your clubs, if you go train with your county before that date, you won't be covered. It's as simple as that. It is putting it up to managers of county teams, as well, that they can't train these lads.
“Of course, is that training ban going to be adhered to? It won't, it isn't. But I think it is a good thing they are not covered, and the GAA is right to try and stamp out unauthorised training sessions.
The manager or the county board is then responsible for the wellbeing of their players. Let them pay out if there is an injury.
“If inter-county sessions were covered, some managers will go over the top and say, you can go with your club Tuesday and Thursday, and then we want you Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. That is crazy stuff, and we all know it is crazy. There is a way of stamping it out and the GAA have found a way of stamping it out.”
Considine continued: “The GAA shouldn't cede ground to the GPA. The GAA shouldn't back down. It'll be a blow to the clubs if they do and it will lead to a row between club and county managers. The GAA is showing leadership by suspending its insurance scheme for county panels until mid-September and, hopefully, they will continue to show leadership, that they won't be hoodwinked into doing anything.”
Insurance cover for club teams kicks back in from Wednesday, with Considine expressing the view that inter-county panels are time enough getting together from September 14. Inter-county competitions will resume no sooner than October 17.
“For a lot of players, when they get called onto an inter-county panel, the club becomes secondary to them. This is a very good way of getting rid of that.
“Inter-county teams will have five weeks to prepare for the start of inter-county competitions from September 14, roughly the same period as clubs have now. And sure won’t the inter-county player be training away and playing games with his club before September 14.
“What is wrong with the GPA? Why are they coming with this request? They have to remember that these lads are club players, as well.”
The two-time All-Ireland winning Clare selector believes the GAA’s approach to the truncated 2020 season, whereby there will be no more than four weeks of overlap between club and county, should be looked at as a potentially permanent model going forward.
“What we have is a defined club season and a defined inter-county season that won’t interfere with one another. It is something that might be used again.”