Why save Andy Merrigan?

Every year after the dust settles and the All-Ireland has been won, the attention quickly turns to the Club game.  Local pride, playing with family and friends, the parish team are all at the core of club football, but unfortunately our game’s biggest prize is flawed.

There are lots of reasons, out of the GAA’s control, that don’t allow the club model to function as well as the county one.  I will look into some of the main reasons why the Andy Merrigan cup is over shadowed by Sam MaGuire.

Karl Lacey played every single game for club and county in 2012 but only played once in 2013 due to injury .ie

Karl Lacey played every single game for club and county in 2012 but only played once in 2013 due to injury credit gaa.ie

1. Staggered championships

The County Championships are all staggered, depending on when your county exits the race for Sam.  The Louth championship could start in early June whilst the Dublin equivalent won’t begin until late September.  With no fixed start date but a fixed final date it can lead to too many games in short spaces.  When Donegal won the 2012 All-Ireland their club championship was ran off in five weeks, champions St. Eunan’s played eight games in that period.  ‘‘I remember going to games on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s in the middle of November’’ said Mark Boyle of Ardra.

2. Bad Conditions

The club championships are usually played over the winter months, especially the provincial series’.  By playing these games on soft pitches and in desperately cold conditions players don’t get to express themselves as they would do over the summer.  Due to the conditions games are much slower and more players get injured. Leg injuries are ripe in the Provincial Club Championships.

3. External Commitments

Should you be lucky enough to prevail in your county and have county players or students on your team, it is nearly a burden.  County players are wrecked after a tough seven months, at least, and both the colleges and schools are just beginning their campaigns.  Also, the selection to play with your province and country are problems as both the Railway cup and the Cormac McAnallen cup squads are being finalised.

The distraction of playing for your country is hurting the club game. [image: zimbio.com]

The distraction of playing for your country is hurting the club game. [image: zimbio.com]

4. Burnout

A professional Rugby player and/or a professional soccer player gets six weeks off at the end of a season, this time is used to recover and allow the body to relax after a tough season.  The most a club player gets due to one commitment or another is, at the very most, three weeks.  Training for county and clubs starts the first Tuesday in January.  Harry Dawson of Skerries Harps says that he feels mentally and physically wrecked all the time ‘’I find it hard to go training and all I want to do is sleep’’.

I don’t know whether its a coincidence or a fact,  but if you look at the counties and provinces winning the All-Ireland’s you’ll very quickly see that the club football in those counties is struggling and vice versa.

The All-Ireland club championship is the pinnacle of every single player’s career but due to the above reasons we are endangering of ruining our game.  The GAA need to reform their fixtures and get a more coherent agenda put in place.

I have taken the first step by giving GAA president nominee Aogan Farrell a copy of this article.

One thought on “Why save Andy Merrigan?

Tell us your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s