Derek McGrath wants CPA to campaign for Leaving Cert breaks between fixtures

The Club Player's Association aims to redress the balance between club and inter-county schedules.

Derek McGrath wants CPA to campaign for Leaving Cert breaks between fixtures

©INPHO/Ken Sutton

One of the aims proposed by the recently formed Club Player's Association, is to 'fix the fixtures' in GAA and bring some harmony to the club and inter-county divide.

The association officially launched earlier this month, where the chairman Micheal Briody relayed the plight of the club player and their season which includes large gaps between fixtures in the summer.

Briody stated that players want more competitive games and 'don’t want endless training sessions and 13-month seasons.'

Waterford hurling manager Derek McGrath told John Fogarty of the Irish Examiner that he supports the CPA's ambition to correct the fixture issues but added that he would like to see some time allocated to Leaving Cert players and college players who want to go on holidays after the exams.

"I welcome the Club Players Association but I don’t think playing more championship games during the summer will stand up."

"After the Leaving Cert, when there is a guy who’s playing minor hurling for the county and that finishes, he’s hoping to get away for a week with his buddies. The same if he’s after doing his first year’s exams in college. They’re hungry to get away."

"I agree with (CPA hurling fixtures co-ordinator) Liam Griffin on the fixtures remit but that remit should also include breaks. That might sound contradictory but recovery and downtime during the summer also has to be built into any fixtures overhaul."

McGrath continued by suggesting that those on the CPA executive have 'a certain responsibility' to those young players, given that they were once Leaving Cert students themselves, with similar needs.

The De La Salle man also spoke about recent discussions with the county board, where he outlined his desire to have the National League format amended, to account for players who are at risk of burnout due to college commitments.

"Anyone reading this might think I’m trying to be cute and avoid relegation but the nature of our panel would see about 17 players involved in Fitzgibbon. Any debate in Croke Park that centres on burnout or what players are doing, to me it has to centre on a regrouping of the league so that I could turn around to any of our Fitzgibbon Cup players and say: 'We don’t want you involved in the first three games in February — concentrate on the college.'"