Tipperary GAA secretary Tim Floyd says the current GAA calendar method of combining the club and county season makes no sense.
Three years ago, Floyd championed the idea of the All-Ireland senior hurling final being played in July when Tipperary put forward a condensed format for the All-Ireland SHC.
It entailed five counties playing in Leinster and Munster as is the case now but on a knock-out basis with a guarantee of two games for each team with the retention of the qualifiers.
Delegates instead opted for the Central Competitions Control Committee/Central Council proposal for a round-robin provincial system, while Floyd admits his own idea about splitting the season with a July All-Ireland SHC final was criticised by other county officers.
“Fellas were telling me I was half-mad so I forgot about it,” he recalls with a laugh. “To me, it was the most practical way. There was no way we were going to solve the problems we have the way we were going.
“We presented our own motion at Special Congress a few years ago but it was a foregone conclusion that the system that’s there now was coming in and counties had already made their minds up and were led to believe that it was the way forward.”
Floyd came to the conclusion that the two seasons couldn’t be run off on a parallel basis and that a block or window for club championship action and one for county had to be run consecutively.
“It makes an awful lot of sense especially with the convoluted fixtures list with the different grades and hurling and football. It makes no sense to run club and county at the same time. It’s too complicated.”
One of the primary reasons the national fixtures review taskforce has held out against the split season idea is the All-Ireland finals being brought forward to July when they had both been staged in September up to 2017.
“In a promotional context, this would not be in the best interests of the Association overall. It would mean over half of the season without any inter-county GAA action.”
Floyd knows where that argument is coming from but doesn’t share the same concern.
“There had always been a worry that moving away from September with the high profile games we would lose ground on other sports but that hasn’t happened. The club scene is the fundamental of the whole thing and we were never going to lose ground.
“At the moment, everybody is totally wrapped up in the club scene because so many games are going on. Just because they are not getting the exposure that All-Ireland finals get doesn’t make a difference. It’s the magnitude of the games and there is fantastic stuff going on. The club scene can command as much attention as the inter-county scene.
“If they intend having the calendar year, September could be the month for county finals. I don’t see an awful lot wrong in the calendar year. If we go with the split season, it will be a lot easier to conform with a calendar year because you will have the time to fulfil fixtures.”
The Gaelic Players Association intend to resurrect the idea of a split season with the national fixtures review taskforce when they meet next Wednesday.
As the CCCC are shortly expected to finalise the exact dates for the provincial championships in tandem with the four provincial councils, Central Council convenes tomorrow. The Munster Council have asked the five counties competing in their senior hurling championship if they wish to revert to home-away agreements or neutral venues. With the likelihood of designated venues due to Covid-19, it is understood the majority favour neutral venues.