The Club Players Association (CPA) are today expected to unveil a calendar fixtures plan with no club championship games scheduled in the months of June, July, and August.
The proposals, which they have discussed with the GAA, are aimed at providing club players with more certainty about when their most important fixtures will take place.
At a press conference this morning, they will also underline their support for a club-only April and recommend that the National Leagues are concluded by the end of March as well as finishing the All-Ireland club championships by the end of November to facilitate a calendar year season. December would be considered a closed season month.
Although they have held a number of meetings with GAA officials, the Micheál Briody-chaired body are understood to be frustrated with the measures Croke Park have suggested to remedy the difficulties faced by club players.
A statement to announce today’s briefing read: “Six months after the formation of the Club Players Association, we are sharing a groundbreaking set of fixture plans that guarantee a national fixture plan, which will allow every club and county player to receive an unchangeable fixture list at the beginning of every season. This plan ensures the season is completed in a calendar year.
“With the upcoming Special Congress that aims to introduce further incremental change to a GAA season that is already suffocating the club game, our national association is at a critical crossroads. Key decisions are once again being made whilst only paying lip service to the club player. We have come up with a solution to the fixtures chaos that will allow club and inter-county games to seamlessly co-exist.” Special Congress in September will vote on new All-Ireland hurling championship formats as well as a kick-out motion from the playing rules committee, which calls on restarts to be kicked beyond the 20-metre line.
Meanwhile, Sean Armstrong admitted that Galway players were “depressed and deflated” after their shock defeat to Roscommon in the Connacht SFC final earlier this month. Kevin Walsh’s side bounced back in spectacular fashion with a 15 point victory over Donegal in Saturday’s All-Ireland qualifier at Markievicz Park. And Armstrong admits that the pain of the provincial decider defeat had been a huge motivation.
“We were depressed, deflated (after the Roscommon game). We felt we let ourselves down and let the supporters down two weeks ago against Roscommon. The only thing I suppose you can put it down to is just complacency. Maybe we didn’t give Roscommon the respect that we should have, although in the lead-up we thought we had. They caught us. We’re just happy we got to get out here on Saturday night and made amends. Last year, after the game against Tipperary, we didn’t have the chance to make amends. We had an opportunity today to make amends and we said we’d take it.”
Armstrong returned to the squad earlier this year after a two year absence.
“I just had an itch that I needed itching. I’m delighted to come back.
“There’s a great bunch of lads there. We’ve had a good year.
“We’ve had one bad game which was Roscommon. I thought we went somewhat along the way to making amends and hopefully we can make more of them next weekend.”
UPCOMING FIXTURES (SATURDAY):
All-Ireland SFC Round 4B qualifiers: Down v Monaghan, Croke Park, 5pm, (Sky Sports); Armagh v Kildare, Croke Park, 7pm, (Sky Sports).
All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals: Kerry v Galway, Croke Park, 2pm (RTÉ); Roscommon v Mayo, Croke Park, 4pm (RTÉ).
All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals: Dublin v Round 4B winner (Armagh, Down or Monaghan), TBC (Sky); Tyrone v Round 4B winner (Armagh, Monaghan or Kildare), TBC (Sky). Electric Ireland All-Ireland MFC quarter-finals: Louth v Kerry, O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, 1.15pm; Cavan v Galway, Páirc Seán MacDiarmada, 2pm; Derry v Sligo, MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey, 2pm; All-Ireland JFC final: Meath v Kerry, O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, 3pm; Liberty Insurance All-Ireland senior camogie quarter-finals: Dublin v Wexford, Semple Stadium, Thurles, 5pm; Galway v Tipperary, Semple Stadium, 7pm.
Electric Ireland MHC semi-final: Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, 2pm (TG4); All-Ireland SHC semi-final: Galway v Tipperary, Croke Park, 4pm (RTÉ/Sky Sports).
Electric Ireland All-Ireland MFC quarter-final: Dublin v Clare, O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, 4pm.
Electric Ireland minor hurling semi-final: Cork v Dublin, Croke Park, 1.30pm (TG4); All-Ireland SHC semi-final: Cork v Waterford, Croke Park, 3.30pm (RTÉ/Sky Sport).
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