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New Club Players' Association facing a tricky conundrum

By Declan Bogue

Published 16/11/2016

Meeting: director-general Paraic Duffy
Meeting: director-general Paraic Duffy

In the first statement sent out by the Club Players' Association, it voices what will be taken as a Mission Statement. "The Club Players' Association (CPA) intends to be the voice of the club player, to protect their well-being by delivering an unchangeable meaningful fixtures programme within a shorter season for every club player."

So far, there have been a few media interviews here and there with Declan Brennan, the most visible driving force of the body.

There was also a meeting of concerned GAA people in Croke Park the day after the All-Star Awards. Respected figures such as Derek Kavanagh, Micheál Quirke and Anthony Moyles met with GAA director-general Paraic Duffy, and Brennan reported that: "We couldn't have asked for a better meeting."

The concept of trying to create a shorter season should and will be met with widespread approval. It is one of those worthy suggestions that certainly no player is going to turn down.

But there is a lot more to the GAA calendar than just senior football to take into consideration.

Any week now, the St Paul's Ulster Minor Club Championship is due to begin. The MacRory Cup is in its early stages. The successful Ulster Under-21 Football Championship at Creggan is on its way. The Ulster Minor Club Hurling Championship is ongoing.

Last year, Kilcar's Ryan and Eoin McHugh and Stephen McBrearty were due to face Magheracloone in the Creggan tournament.

However, they were not allowed as Donegal senior manager Rory Gallagher requested they were present for a pre-season challenge match in January. That's how much of a logjam there is for fixtures at what is supposedly a dormant time in the GAA.

If the season is to be shortened, then the CPA and the GAA will find out they simply have to get rid of a lot of tournaments played by clubs.

A tricky conundrum. Especially for a body titled the 'Club Players' Association'.

Belfast Telegraph

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