The long winter wait for the All-Ireland club series and Dublin GAA grassroots problems
Aaron Kernan (Crossmaglen Rangers) and Kevin Nolan (Kilmacud Crokes) are both former All-Ireland club winners
BOTH FORMER INTER-county senior footballers, both former All-Ireland senior club winners and both well placed to speak on the club v county fixture conflict in the GAA.
Armagh’s Aaron Kernan and Dublin’s Kevin Nolan both tasted St Patrick’s Day glory with their respective clubs Crossmaglen Rangers and Kilmacud Crokes in Croke Park.
They’re now back at the coalface of the game after their inter-county careers have ended and they’re experiencing the same onslaught of problems as other grassroots players around the country.
So they’ve got involved with the Club Players Association – which was officially launched today – to try to do something about it and find a solution.
Kevin Nolan, Declan Brennan, Michael Briody and Aaron Kernan at today’s launch
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
Kernan has identified a pressing problem in his view. He’s won a bunch of Ulster senior club titles with Crossmaglen but then every winter has had to endure a long wait after that triumph until the All-Ireland series the following spring.
Of this year’s All-Ireland semi-finalists, both Dr Crokes and Corofin have an 11-week bout of inactivity while St Vincent’s and Slaughtneil’s hiatus will be nine weeks.
Something must be done, reckons Kernan.
For Nolan, participating in the Dublin club championship has seen him witness the problems at local level in the capital.
His club Kilmacud Crokes dumped out the reigning All-Ireland club champions Ballyboden St-Enda’s last October yet the backdrop was that both sides were in action just a week after Dublin’s All-Ireland final replay win.
Placing the club championship on cold storage while Dublin are in inter-county senior mode, creates several issues. Club players end up having different pre-seasons in order to reach peak fitness and have been lying idle all summer.
Kevin Nolan won an All-Ireland senior medal with Dublin in 2011
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
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The championship ends up being played in a blitz format from October on and that’s tough as well on All-Ireland winners who must return to action within days of lifting Sam.
“I want to play matches,” said Nolan.
“I don’t want to train to train. If I did, I’d just go and join the local gym, get fit myself. But I want to play games. I think everyone who is involved in the GAA, that’s what we want to do.”
For more information on the GAA Club Players Association, see www.gaaclubplayers.com.
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