Aaron Kernan speaking yet more sense on real reason county finals are played so late
Aaron Kernan doesn't have much sympathy for counties that can't sort out their own fixtures.
His views on why some of them purposely run into October are a definite wake-up call to the law-makers up above but, aside from that, the Armagh legend has little time for those whining about Croke Park.
Kernan's appearance on SportsJOE's GAA Hour podcast was met with unanimous plaudits on Wednesday night. The Crossmaglen man told a pretty bleak story of how only two of his team mates have bothered to follow the newly-formed Club Players Association on social media despite his persuasions - and despite most of them generally crying about the state of club GAA.
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) November 16, 2016
Kernan hit out at the culture of people complaining about how long the season is but then when Paraic Duffy actually proposes to shorten the inter-county season, it is rejected in congress.
It beggars belief but so do a lot of things in the modern game. When only six counties made it to August in the football season, it's crazy to think that so many weren't wrapped up until October or November when they had the best part of four months to work with.
"There are counties who are going weeks on end," Kernan said on SportsJOE's GAA Hour. "Why the Waterford county final was played on the 6th of November is beyond me - it's completely unfair on them and that is the problem.
"Everyone throws out, 'it's Croke Park's fault'. Croke Park has proposed changed and everyone has turned it down. It's not Croke Park, it's the county's fault and it all stems back to the clubs. The clubs aren't sending the right people to the county convention which then goes to Congress to try and put change through at national level.
"The clubs are letting their county boards away with prolonging the county season when there's absolutely no need for it.
"I saw on Twitter that the Waterford intermediate final is on this weekend. You had a Meath league final on on Tuesday night. That is nothing to do with Croke Park. Croke Park cannot run every single fixture list within every county - that is the county's responsibility.
"But the counties are run by the clubs and they're obviously not putting enough pressure at county board level to make sure a correct calendar is put in place."
In Armagh, the same boy is perfectly happy with how they work it.
There were 15 league games played in the county. There were five divisional matches and five championship rounds were required to go through to win the whole thing. 25 games were on offer between April and October so Kernan doesn't really see the problem about 'when the games are played'.
He does understand why it takes so long for the championship to finish up though - even when your county is finished in July.
"What all that masks over is this: The reason why the Armagh county final was on the 16th of October was because it was two weeks before the Ulster championship," Kernan said.
"It left the team perfectly placed that they had games every two weeks continuously until they got to the end [of the county championship] and then they were ready to go and represent [in Ulster].
"Personally, I don't have a complaint with Armagh county board because I would say there's not one county that's run as good as they are. In March this year, we got a fixture list of every single game that we were playing - league, championship, divisional championship, the whole lot - and every game went ahead on the exact same date that it was to go ahead.
"We could've pushed ahead and finished in August or September if you wanted to but then you were leaving your club players with Maghery, Clonmore, and Whitecross that they were possibly sitting around for five weeks waiting to play in the Ulster club.
"That's the reason the county championship goes on later."
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) November 9, 2016
Right now, they're trying to shoehorn a 16-month season into the one campaign and they do that every year. The All-Ireland season runs 'til March, the provincial series doesn't end 'til December so forgive county boards for not wanting to wrap up in August to leave their champions to fend for themselves.
Change still needs to come from the top.
"If we got it all into a calendar year and the inter-county season is condensed, then you could say, 'right, the Armagh final is moved to the start of September because the Ulster club is going to start in the middle of September because the All-Ireland is going to be the last week of November.
"Everything would scale back from then but, at the moment, I don't see any sense in having the Armagh county final in the middle of September if our county team has had a poor year. It just means you're going to end up training for a month waiting for the Ulster club under the current format."
Listen to Kernan's full interview below. Subscribe here on iTunes.