HomeFootballGAA president Jarlath Burns vows to give Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cups ‘a...

GAA president Jarlath Burns vows to give Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cups ‘a proper place’ in calendar

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Third-level competitions are shoehorned in around the beginning of the National Leagues, placing significant pressure on college players who are also on duty with their county teams.

And speaking in Limerick at the launch of the Mary Immaculate College Gaelic Games club, Burns revealed that he had charged his ‘Amateur Status Committee’ with giving third level competitions more room to breathe.

“Many other sports would give their right hand to have the footprint that the GAA has in our Colleges and Universities,” Burns said.

“But for the GAA, we have almost seen it in our Master Fixtures plan as being a nuisance. Where can we fit the Fitzgibbon and the Sigerson? Could we ask the students who are county players not to play for their Colleges?

“This is a terrible indictment of us and one of the plans I have for the Amateur Status Committee is to give a proper place to the Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cups in the calendar to allow those players – many of whom have scholarships from their Colleges or Provincial Councils – to play and enjoy themselves. That’s a commitment I have given to Higher Education and I really want to fulfil.”

Today’s Sport News in 90 Seconds – 24th April

His comments comes as the split season is under increasing scrutiny and after the Armagh man had previously stated a return to September All-Ireland finals was possible, but only if counties were willing to adopt uniformity in their own club championships.

“There is a way of achieving that, going right back to September with the two finals,” he said.

“The difficulty is the people who are going to have to compromise are the counties with their own championships. We missed the point with what the problem was.

“That problem is, if you are organising the Premier League fixtures, very simple, all you have to look out for are UEFA and FIFA fixtures.

“But if you are organising the GAA master fixtures plan you have to bump into 32 master fixture-making bodies, Higher Education, and multiply that by two as you have hurling and football.

“And then within that you have seven or eight different iterations of championships. It is totally ridiculous to think that we can organise a master fixtures plan around that.

“Let’s say we went back to the old way where we have All-Ireland finals back where they were. And what you say is there’s the master fixtures plan, they’ll work if every county operates its league and championship in this format.

“We’re not saying you have to do it this way but if you don’t do it this way you do so at your own risk.

“I think that would be a good compromise to say to counties, we can work the master fixture schedule in and around this iteration of club organisation.

“If you do it this way there’s where you play all your county games, there’s where you will have your county players, there’s where you will have your preparation.

“Build it all in. But if you want to continue with the old way that you had, don’t come running to us.”

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