Saturday night hurling is the future, says Anthony Nash

The GAA should consider staging more Saturday evening games for the sake of attracting crowds and to help player welfare, says Anthony Nash.

The Cork goalkeeper was buoyed by the 34,607 attendance in Páirc Uí Chaoimh two days ago and believes the evening throw-in not just brings more people to matches but is the preference of players.

“A question was asked there what would you change (about the current structure)? The only thing I would change is Saturday night games because we’ve to wake up a Monday morning after a Sunday game and go to work and you’re talking about recovery.

“If you’ve more Saturday night games fellas could wake up Sunday morning and have a day to themselves with their families or whatever. You see 35,000 there — I don’t think any supporter would be disagreeing with more Saturday night games. Obviously, all of them can’t be with the number of games but that’s the only thing I would tweak going forward especially with the weather the way it is.”

On the subject of player welfare, the 33-year-old isn’t supportive of Sport Ireland’s (SI) determination to dope test inter-county players at home. “All I gather from what’s been put out by the GPA is we agreed as players through the GPA with the 2017 regulations that we are to be drug tested and players are owed their grants from last year and they (SI) are withholding those grants. I don’t know the ins and outs of it but all I’d say is drug testing at home is a bit severe, to be honest now, as an amateur.”

Nash doesn’t feel he is best placed to judge if the current schedule, which saw Cork play a third game in 13 days on Saturday, is appropriate but reckons players’ opinions on it have to be heeded at the end of the season.

“I think it’s more for an outfielder to comment on that and I think at the end of the year there should be a review of it from players. For a goalkeeper it’s fine, it’s just a case of being mentally right for the game more than anything. I’m here now and I could probably go and play another (game). I think an outfielder could comment on that and say whether it’s a good thing or not but, look, the numbers turning up to games are showing that it is a positive.”

It might be argued as another point lost for Cork but Nash had nothing but admiration for his team-mates after a gruelling couple of weeks. “We could have six points on the table, we could have two points on the table. It’s a draw, it could have gone either way. We have lots of workings to go through. But we’ve a lot of positives as well.

“People might be going away and saying after a draw there’s a lot of negatives but we’ve a lot of positives we’re going to take from it. I can’t comment on fellas’ fatigue but to go three games in 13 days is an incredible feat from lads and to show the energy at the end of the game to not give up I thought was a massive boost.”

Nash could appreciate just how thrilling the draw with Limerick was but he can’t say it was a pleasure.

“It’s very hard to enjoy Championship, really, when it’s important. You don’t feel things. We messed up a few balls halfway in the second half and you’re definitely not enjoying that but you’re definitely enjoying when you’re popping balls over the bar. It kind of ebbs and flows.” He continued: “The people delighted leaving are the supporters; there’s more talk going outside the gate, Limerick and Cork supporters saying they deserved it but there’s 35,000 people there and people watching on TV who will be thrilled with the spectacle the two teams put on and that’s what I think should be taken from today. You can nitpick this, that and the other but I thought the two teams were absolutely unbelievable and gave everything.”

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