Mayo GAA chiefs last night caved to growing pressure from players to cancel the weekend’s championship programme - with the All-Ireland final on the horizon.
The move comes after pleas from Gerard Cafferkey and David Brady to do so.
Former player Brady made a direct plea to the County Board on Twitter on Monday to put back the games until after the senior footballers’ All-Ireland final on September 18 to give Stephen Rochford’s side the best possible chance of beating Dublin or Kerry.
While yesterday injured Cafferkey took to the same social media platform to air his views: “One thing I’ve learned during my football career is how difficult it is to juggle commitments. Top performance requires a blinkered focus on the task at hand.
“I know the honesty that is in that group of players. When they are on club duty – they will be dedicated to the club. However, asking them to switch their focus from club to All-Ireland will break their preparation chain.
“It also relinquishes an advantage we have that might be worth a point or two come the September 18. Releasing players to clubs this week means we will have to push recovery into next week, squeeze in tactical sessions and lose a week of intense training.
“I say this as a lad back looking for club success – the focus has to be on the county success. I firmly believe there’s still time to do the right thing for Mayo GAA.”
Several of the Mayo panel are believed to share the same sentiments of Cafferkey, who was ruled out for the season after picking up a serious hamstring injury in March. The movement against this weekend’s club fixtures when Brady tweeted on Monday: “I understand the pressure 2 play Club CShip but please let’s not look back with regret..Its too great a risk please call them off”.
The O’Shea brothers’ Breaffy were set to take on Colm Boyle’s Davitts and Patrick Durcan and Barry Moran’s Castlebar Mitchels were to host David Clarke’s Ballina Stephenites. The O’Connor brothers’ and Alan Dillon’s Ballintubber were set to face Brendan Harrison’s Aghamore. Kevin McLoughlin and Andy Moran were to be on opposite sides when Knockmore clash with Ballaghaderreen.
“There has been a lot of reaction to the decision,” said county board PRO Paul Cunnane earlier yesterday. “I can see the advantages and disadvantages but there are only a couple of players that need resting and a good few who need game-time. We already lost a round of the championship when we were beaten by Galway so losing another now is something we couldn’t afford.”
Brady’s pleas kick-started a debate about the pros and cons of staging a series of games three weeks out from Mayo attempting at the eighth time of asking in a final to claim the Sam Maguire Cup and bridge a gap of 65 years.
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