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McGeeney: fixtures controversy cannot be solved by CPA

By Declan Bogue

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney has questioned the level of impact the Club Players Association can have on the ongoing fixtures controversy, adding that county managers will be blamed for "killing clubs" anyway.

Asked about the CPA's request for a think-tank on fixtures, McGeeney outlined the difficulties in giving all stakeholders a say.

"I don't think it is possible. You can't look after everybody the way they want to be looked after, something is going to have to give - that is the long and the short of it," he stated.

"You can dress it down, pull the county back but then it is not going to get the coverage that other sports do," Armagh's 2002 All-Ireland winning captain said.

He warned of the knock-on effect of a condensed inter-county season.

"If that happens, will rugby become bigger, will soccer become bigger and whether that is true or not it is a very real possibility. The GAA could go on a downward slope. We all know what shop windows do," he said.

Ultimately, McGeeney feels that although well-intentioned, the CPA will run into problems that have become institutionalised.

"Everybody knows something has to be done about the fixtures, but I've got a funny feeling everybody knows that there's not going to be really anything done about them," he commented.

"It'll probably toddle on and come back to the same thing - that county managers are killing clubs.

"At county, you could play twice as many league games and more Championship games and still be finished in six months, it would cover a lot of bases.

"They say there's too many training sessions to games - that's because the games are so spaced out. You've three different teams playing in competitions between colleges, schools, U21s and clubs."

McGeeney injected some realism into the debate when he brought finance into the equation.

"At the end of the day the Championship is what pays for everything else. Whether people like it or not, even though it's a volunteer organisation, it needs money to exist and the Championship provides that.

"And the Championship needs to be good, even for a shop window for your kids."

Meanwhile, Antrim hurlers are short-handed for their Allianz Hurling League Division 2A opener against London on February 12 with the news that Christy McNaughton is all but ruled out of the campaign with a broken bone in his foot.

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