The news last week that Kildare’s first O’byrne Cup game falls on the same December date they are permitted to return to collective training was an embarrassment for the Leinster Council. In light of the achievements made by Croke Park in contracting the GAA calendar this year, it served as a reminder that not everyone is on the same page.
Never mind that those who scheduled the Lilywhites’ game against Offaly were oblivious to the collective training moratorium, the prechristmas start to the pre-season competition flies in the face of the CPA and GPA’S concerns about there being no effective closed season.
After the publication of the ESRI report which GAA director general Tom Ryan described as “sobering” in relation to the demands placed on players, Kildare’s December 8 game sends out the signal that not much has been learned from it.
What the Leinster Council can’t be blamed for, though, is the arranging of St Patrick’s Leinster club SFC clash with Rhode 24 hours after they beat Rathnew in the Wicklow final replay. Wicklow, who exited the All-ireland SFC on June 9, had ample time to complete their championship so that the matter of a final replay would not have impinged on their winners’ advance in the provincial championship.
Leinster couldn’t be seen to be making allowances for those who had already taken great liberties with the running of their premier competition.