CIARÀN MCDONALD has accused the GAA of not respecting players and questioned how serious the Association is about addressing burnout following the refusal of the Munster Council to move the U-21 football final from last Saturday, 24 hours before the Tipperary seniors’ promotion decider.
McDonald was involved in both games and suffered the heartbreak of losing the U-21 final to a last-minute Cork goal before the Premier booked their place in Division 2 of next year’s league.
A second year medicine student at NUIG, McDonald was not pleased by the Munster Council’s intransigence.
“We’d never won the Munster U-21 championship before and I thought this was going to be the year,” said the Aherlow clubman.
“I wasn’t happy but what can I do? I really don’t like the way they did it. It’s ridiculous really. It’s a recipe for burnout having to tog out for the U-21s and the next day tog out for the seniors. (That’s) two high-intensity games and then having to go up to college the next week for exams.
“If that’s not the recipe for burnout, then what is? They’re not showing respect to the players, in my opinion.”
The 20-year-old admits that finding a solution to the overall problem isn’t easy but is not letting the Munster Council off the hook.
“If there was an easy suggestion, it would be suggested already. The fixtures are so clogged up. The U-21 game could have been on Wednesday night but the Munster Council just didn’t want to so what can you do?”
The first Tipperary footballer to be named Vodafone player of the month, McDonald received news of the award on April 1 and dismissed it as an April Fool’s gag. One imagines it would have been the same this time last year had he been told that Tipperary would be promoted from Division 3 this season, despite losing their first game to Down.
“It’s been a surprising year,” he concedes. “Our main thing was to stay safe in Division 3 and we ended up getting promoted. We weren’t going for it but it happened the way it did.
“League success isn’t worth much if you don’t do it in the championship. We’re up against a mountain. Limerick are neighbours, it will be a real derby and they will be hurting after the league defeat.
“They hammered us last year in championship so it’s going to be a good game. I’m looking forward to it.”
McDonald praised manager John Evans and his team-mates for creating the right environment in which to prosper.
“He’s a good manager alright but sure what’s the use in having a good teacher if you don’t have good students?” he grins.
“I think John says it himself, the lads take things up rapidly. Training gets done 100%. There’s a good atmosphere in the camp. We are a team in everything we do and are very cohesive together.”
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