Baker declares era of dual star at end

Ollie Baker: Fixtures make it impossible to play both codes. Picture: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

The GAA does not want the difficulty of dual players clashing with its fixture schedules, according to Ollie Baker.

The former Clare All Star and double All-Ireland winner believes managers are not the ones stopping players playing both codes, it’s all the GAA.

“The days of the dual star are over and that’s the end of the story,” he said.

“The GAA and the fixtures committee don’t want players playing dual because that causes difficulty for them with regards to their fixture schedule.”

This year’s Clare SFC champions Cratloe, who lost the Munster final to Dr Crokes, contain six Clare senior hurlers.

Cathal McInerney, Liam Markham, Conor Ryan and Conor McGrath, Podge and Sean Collins, four of which are All Star hurlers, have all also represented Clare in football from U14 level to U21. But as the Clare footballers wallow in Division 4 of the National League, All-Ireland-winning manager Davy Fitzgerald has been put under increasing pressure to allow his players a dual status.

Baker and Fitzgerald were team-mates for Clare’s previous All-Ireland successes in 1996 and ’97 and the now Kilmacud Crokes manager has nothing but sympathy for his former colleague.

“It’s not managers who are against it but managers are being pillared as the harsh man in all of these situations ‘That the managers won’t let him play’,” he said. “But the GAA are actually telling you when they schedule a football match and a hurling match at the same time, in different venues, that you can’t do it.”

Baker has managed dual counties Offaly and Antrim in the past.

“It’s not that managers don’t want players playing both hurling and football. A hurling manager has his job to do to prepare a hurling team and a football manager has his job to do to prepare a football team, but how can they do that when they’re on at the same time? The player is going to have to choose one or the other.

“Maybe you could call them a dual star, but they’re not really a dual star as they’re only playing one code at a time. The era of the dual star is over.”


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