Croke Park must lead on player availability
Club Players Association chairman Micheál Briody has called on the GAA to insist that inter-county players are released to their clubs during April next year.
At the launch of the GAA’s master fixture plan for 2018, it was revealed that the Association had more or less heeded the CPA call for the month to be reserved for club games, amidst a general compression of the inter-county calendar.
“It is a positive development that there will be more club weekends at the back of the year and in April as well,” Briody told RTÉ 2fm’s Game On.
“It’s a designated period that they’re looking to do in April and we had called for that in our master plan earlier in the year.”
Briody was less impressed with director general Padraic Duffy suggesting it would be up to individual counties as to whether inter-county players would be released back to clubs in April however.
“The key question is will there be certainty over which weekends those will be (reserved for club action) and will all clubs have their inter-county players available for those periods,” said Briody.
“I think leadership has to come from the top on this and the rule book has to reflect what the will of putting this designated period in for club players is.
“It can’t be left to 32 different county boards and clubs within them. There should be clear direction coming from Croke Park on that.
“I’m a bit disappointed that that was more or less even said at the launch of it, it’s more or less giving an opening to county managers as to will they or won’t they release their county players for April.
“They should. Martin O’Neill and Joe Schmidt can work within a defined player release so county managers should be able to do that too and the GAA should be able to frame that into the rule-book to reflect that.”