Laois senior hurling coach/selector Niall Corcoran feels the GAA have given counties the go-ahead to train collectively before September 14.
The former Dublin defender says Laois will not be one of them but he would hope there is compromise and players can return to the county set-up as soon as their clubs exit their respective championships.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner last month, Laois manager Eddie Brennan expressed concern that some counties would be able to get a headstart on others because of their championship structures. It remains an issue for Laois as their senior hurling final is due to take place two weekends after that of Dublin's, who they face in a Leinster quarter-final on October 24/25.
All Laois want is fairness, Corcoran insists, but he says confirmation from the GAA that they won’t sanction counties who train before September 14 doesn’t help.
“Eddie, Tommy (Fitzgerald) and myself would be talking a lot about it. We’re trying to manage a group of players who have an ambition to represent their county to the best of their ability in October. At the same time, we have to make sure we’re fair to them and their clubs.
“As Eddie mentioned, what we’re looking for is a level playing field in terms of a commitment given to when we can come back collectively and that all counties are equal. Eddie made it very clear that it’s a situation where maybe the GAA should be stepping in to make sure rules are adhered to. When it was mentioned last week that there was going to be no consequence for breaking those rules well then that was the green light for counties to go and do what they wanted.
“From our point of view, our boys are back with their clubs. We are frustrated that some counties will maybe be finishing their championships earlier than others and might give them an advantage to go and get a bit of work done.
“Every week counts that you are together. It’s a huge challenge to go and face Dublin and we have huge respect for them and they have huge ambitions. For them to have a couple of weeks’ advantage would be a big disadvantage to our preparations but we can’t really do anything about it.”
Corcoran agreed entirely with Laois senior football manager Micheál Quirke’s Irish Examiner column today. A former executive committee member of the Club Players Association (CPA), Corcoran would have a different view to the CPA on club/county players returning to county training after their club championship interests are over.
“If it’s not interrupting a club championship or taking a player away from his club, I would think that’s fair enough and reasonable. The last three months, lads have had no hurling or Gaelic football and now they’re getting a few with the clubs and hopefully with the county.
“If there is an allowance there for players to come back and train when they finish with their club it would be the right thing to do. We’re waiting to see whether that’s possible. All we want to do is make sure we’re in a good position to perform come the end of October.
“Mike makes a great point in the paper that the performance of the county teams will possibly be dependent on the quality of the club training. I’ve no doubt the Laois lads will come back in great shape and a lot of Laois clubs are doing the right thing.”