Gerry Tully, the GAA’s Higher Education committee chairman, last night revealed they had no contact from the Hurling 2020 group during their extensive six month consultation process.
However, Tully is confident the Hurling 2020 document, which is published today, will not contain mention of the game’s premier third level competition.
“We had expected they would meet with us, but there was never any correspondence. From this, you would have to think there won’t be any changes proposed for the Fitzgibbon Cup.
“It would be terrible to hear that the Hurling 2020 group were proposing changes to the Fitzgibbon Cup when they didn’t even meet with us.”
Forum chairman Liam Sheedy suggested the Fitzgibbon Cup would come under scrutiny when commenting last summer that the competition “is a difficult one to solve”.
He said: “There was a guy last year who played with his county on the Sunday and then went and played a Fitzgibbon quarter-final on the Tuesday.
“It is very difficult on that player who is trying to break onto the county team that he would have to go out again on the Tuesday.”
Higher Education committee chairman Tully believes calls to move the competition to December are not practical.
“They’re are certain individuals in Croke Park that would like to see it become a pre-Christmas competition. You do that and you are impinging on Christmas exams and the club commitments of players.”
The GAA will again trial the clock-hooter system during the semi-finals and final of the Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cup competitions.
Top-brass, however, have modified the rules concerning the hooter and consequently, a game can only be ended with either a score or a wide when the hooter sounds at full-time.
“The tweak to the hooter system is still in place at present but we are looking at getting that changed,” revealed Tully.
“In the league football final between St Mary’s and DCU last month, DCU were four points up when the hooter went. The problem was they were deep inside their own half and couldn’t work their way up the field to register either a wide or a score to end the game.
“Proceedings turned ugly and a St Mary’s player was sent off. I met with Bernard Smith in Croke Park after that game and we both agreed something had to be done.
“I can’t understand why the GAA aren’t using the hooter in the O’Byrne Cup, McGrath Cup and McKenna Cup competitions. By trialling it exclusively during the Fitzgibbon and Sigerson competitions, it is only being tested during six games. It would have been trialled at a huge amount of games last weekend had they introduced it for these pre-season competitions. Then we would really see does it work.”
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