Munster secretary Simon Moroney admits staging All-Ireland club finals in December will only be workable if the schedules of other competitions such as the inter-county championships are put back in the year.
A workgroup will shortly report to Central Council after the committee agreed in principle with the club season finishing in the calendar year.
With Tipperary and Wexford already conceding they won’t have representations in the Munster and Leinster senior club competitions, there is already significant pressure on counties to finish their championships before the provincial campaigns begin. If the calendar year recommendation were to become rule, that would intensify and Moroney admits it would present the GAA with a significant challenge.
“Central Council have had a discussion in relation to some including club competitions concluding in the one year and a workgroup has been set up in regard to that.
“I don’t know what the thrust of their arguments will be but it will prove a challenge. Unless you put the other competitions back in the year, the prospect of having an All-Ireland club final in December is remote.
“In some counties, there is a proliferation of dual clubs. Loughmore-Castleiney last year won both senior titles in Tipperary and I understand a significant number of players were on both teams.
“In my own county, Cratloe won both titles this year. They pose serious challenges to running a fixtures programme. Forcing players to play two games in quick succession should be a non-runner. I know last year Cratloe ran into difficulties as they had to play a county final on the Saturday and the Munster club on the Sunday.”
Moroney acknowledges there would also have to be changes to how counties run their competitions. However, he did point out the last two All-Ireland final replays have caused difficulties for Clare and Tipperary.
“The replays seem to be par for the course and they have knock-on consequences because obviously the period between the drawn game and the replay it’s more or less sterilised for the clubs who have county players at a time of year when there is high activity.”
Meanwhile, Moroney has not ruled out the possibility a Munster county putting forward a motion to reinstate All-Ireland quarter-final positions for provincial champions. It comes in the wake of several disappointing performances by Munster winners in recent All-Ireland semi-finals.
Since 2007 Munster and Leinster champions have been rewarded with spots in separate semi-finals, although it’s nine years since the best in Munster have go on to claim the Liam MacCarthy Cup.
“A lot of people would question whether it’s a benefit or not that provincial winners go through to All-Ireland semi-finals,” stated Moroney.
“Neither of the last three Munster winners have proceeded to the final and Dublin last year. To do something about it would involve altering the national fixtures schedule.
“My own personal view would be you could be fearful of the gap between the provincial title and waiting for somebody in the semi-final and how it could be detrimental to you. The defeats could be down to other factors as well but it might have something to do about waiting and keeping the team fresh.”
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