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Lennon on warpath as Tyrone struggle with fixture pile-up


By John Campbell

Tyrone hurling team manager Mattie Lennon has launched a blistering attack on the GAA's fixture makers following a concerted programme of matches that has seen his side in action every week since February 12.

Tomorrow, Tyrone will lock horns with Donegal for the FOURTH time this year, on this occasion as part of their ongoing bid to lift the Nicky Rackard Cup.

Lennon believes that his side's involvement in the Allianz League, Ulster Shield and the Rackard Cup has imposed "massive demands" on his players and urges GAA chiefs to focus much more strongly on the "ludicrous situation" that pertains in relation to fixtures in the March-April period in particular.

"As I see it, these competitions are just coming on top of each other in an effort to get them over and done with," blasted Lennon. "I don't think you would get it in any other sport. We played Donegal at home and away in the league, then we met them in the Shield final and now we have them in this Rackard Cup game at the weekend.

"It's worth pointing out that this is an All-Ireland Championship series and yet we have hardly had time to catch our breath properly. This makes massive demands on our players.

"If we were to get, say, another couple of games in this competition then our season would be over and done with in early May - a ludicrous situation!"

It was after Fingal pulled out of Division 3A that it was decided to play games on a home and away basis and when the decision was taken to play the Ulster Championship and Ulster Shield in April, Lennon knew that his side would be up against it.

"I can't speak for other teams but I'm sure some of them are feeling the heat as well," stated Lennon. "I think with a little better planning and more regard for players' welfare, the Championship competitions could be offered a wider time frame."

Lennon is particularly concerned that the core of his side has been on duty in all games to date.

"We don't carry a very big squad and I would say that maybe 10 or 11 of the lads have played in every game. This does not afford them much opportunity for recovery," added the Red Hands boss.

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