Shane Dowling says the GAA is not putting players first as Limerick face up to being without over a third of their panel because of club commitments and sharing half of the squad with college teams in the coming weeks.
Dowling is one of 10 Na Piarsaigh players who might be unavailable to manager John Kiely for the entirety of the league, while 18 are lining out in the Fitzgibbon Cup.
While Limerick’s Munster League win bodes well, Dowling highlights the difficulties that lie in wait for the county.
“We’ve obviously met with John and the one thing I told him is that I’m extremely sorry for him. He’s in a pressurised job and he’s without 10 of us at the moment.
"Six are injured, 18 lads are playing Fitzgibbon, and another few are playing freshers. In a county which has been starved of success, we need everything going in our favour but it’s a nightmare at the moment.
“The schedule doesn’t make any sense to me. We’re obviously concentrating on Na Piarsaigh at the moment but whether we’re out on February 10 or March 17 we’re going to be missing games with Limerick.
"To me, it’s crazy. As soon as we finish, John will be looking for us and that’s understandable because he’ll have no other choice.”
The calendar year season is a must, argues the 2014 All-Star. “I know people talk about the prestige attached to St Patrick’s Day but it’s got to the stage now where hurling is about the GAA, not the players.
"If the players aren’t the first people considered, then it’s not going to work. Pat Gilroy is in the same boat in Dublin. We’re hoping to be involved until March 17 but very soon after it will be county club championship and then only a couple of weeks’ lead-in to the Munster championship.
"You might then have 10 (Na Piarsaigh lads) coming in trying to take the places of other lads who have been training for five months. Is that fair?”
Ahead of Na Piarsaigh’s All-Ireland semi-final clash with Slaughtneil next month, Dowling will return to full training later this month after injuring his knee in October’s county final win over Kilmallock.
“I’ve slowly been building it back up and it’ll be another two weeks before I got fully back at it,” said Dowling.
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