Hurling star TJ Reid has expressed concerns about the GAA’s proposals to restructure the season and implement the new club calendar year plan.
Central Council chiefs confirmed at the weekend that they want to run off their All-Ireland club championship campaigns by Christmas each season.
It will address the huge gap either side of Christmas between completion of the provincial club finals in November and December and the beginning of the All-Ireland series in February.
Reid joined a host of GAA stars in Croke Park yesterday to receive his AIB provincial player of the year award. While most were in favour of the new proposals, Kilkenny’s prolific forward raised concerns about issues like playing an All-Ireland club final in terrible conditions in mid-December.
“It would be tough going because winter months are not very enjoyable for hurling,” said Reid.
“At the moment you would be giving out that a player has missed a ball or has missed a free but he’s done it because it is so wet and windy.
“I like to have the break over Christmas but if these new rules are coming out there is nothing you can do about it. The only problem I have is that it is all going to be squashed in.
“If you get one or two draws, that could ruin the whole Championship so that’s going to be a problem.”
Reid’s Kilkenny have been involved in two All-Ireland final replays in the last three seasons, against Galway in 2012 and Tipperary in 2014.
Under the new proposals, such replays would go ahead just six days after the drawn game, placing a considerable strain on players.
Reid initially stated that, “you would definitely need two weeks at least”, citing the amount of recovery time required. But he softened his attitude.
“I suppose six days would be hard but you would obviously have to get your head around it,” he said. “You’d be in the ice baths trying to recover.”
Reid did go along with the GAA’s recommendation that the All-Ireland football and hurling finals be brought forward a week from their traditional September slots. “It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest,” said the Ballyhale Shamrocks man. “You would take any day you are in an All-Ireland final.”
The reaction to the GAA’s scheduling suggestions was generally positive among the AIB provincial player of the year recipients. Limerick and Kilmallock player Paudie O’Brien described the present break before the All-Ireland club series as “ridiculous”.
“I think it’s ridiculous, I don’t see the need,” he said. “In our case, there is no reason we couldn’t have played the All-Ireland semi-final two weeks later and the All-Ireland final by now.”
Gary Sice, a Connacht club football winner with Corofin, agreed with the GAA plan too. “Putting it all into one year would be great,” said Sice. “As long as you’re not playing on a pitch that’s dug up and it takes away from the two teams, then grand.”
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