'Asking any club to play championship without their inter-county players goes against the ethos of the GAA'

'Asking any club to play championship without their inter-county players goes against the ethos of the GAA'
Douglas' Kevin Flahive breaking past St Finbarr's Steven Sherlock. Both are on the Cork football panel. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

DOUGLAS have hit out against a Cork County Board proposal to change the championship to a round-robin format whereby clubs play two of five scheduled games without their inter-county players.

A vote will take place on Tuesday night on three options to overhaul the club scene in Cork, with growing support for the most radical option of the three. 

Cork are tackling the issue of a bloated championship by creating four tiers of 12 clubs each, with group stages feature three, four or six teams, depending on which suggestion is passed. 

"Douglas GAA club are disappointed with the options presented by the county board regarding the proposed championship changes.

"Asking any club to play championship matches without their inter-county players is not acceptable.

"It goes against the ethos of the GAA when you coach young players to strive to improve their skills and if they are lucky they will have the honour of wearing the Cork jersey.

"But it shouldn't be to the detriment of the club that has nurtured their skills and encouraged them from a young age.

"We accept that changes have to be made to the current championship structure for the sake of club players and are willing to look at and facilitate those changes.

"But asking us, or indeed any club, to line out without the players that are looked up to by the young hurlers and footballers and supporters of the club is simply not right."

Alan Cadogan, Douglas, fires a shot over TJ Brosnan, CIT. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Alan Cadogan, Douglas, fires a shot over TJ Brosnan, CIT. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The Gaelic Players Association also released a statement railing against the idea of clubs playing without their marquee players.

“It is not fair or sensible that the opportunity for GPA members to represent their clubs could be taken out of their hands as part of a proposed restructuring of the Championship.

“We all understand that the issue of fixture scheduling and backlogs is complex and multi-faceted. The organisation of a club fixture calendar differs from county to county and there are a number of counties that facilitate a comprehensive club fixture schedule.

“The responsibility lies with the clubs in each individual county through their representation at county board level to guarantee that an appropriate programme of games is put in place to meet the needs of club players and one that also supports the ambition of their county players and their county team.

“All 2,300 GPA members are very proud club members. They are role models for their clubs on a national level with many also heavily involved in coaching, fundraising and administrative operations.

“At a time when the demands on inter-county players have never been greater, as highlighted in the recent ESRI report, the sense of pride for inter-county players remains strong.”

There are constant difficulties with balancing the club and county games in Cork and beyond.

Only last week clubs were frustrated that senior inter-county hurlers were not available for league games, one week after the league ended.

The hurlers had a training day and where therefore unable to pull on the club colours in what were vital matches in the build-up to championship this month.

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