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25th Jun 2024

Hurling legends slam ‘crazy’ inter-county schedule

Callum Boyle

Inter-county hurling

‘It’s very unfair on the players’

Hurling legends John Fenton and Eddie Keher have slammed the congested inter-county schedule – citing that as one of the biggest problems with the game.

Both names have different suggestions on how to improve the format, with Kilkenny great Keher called for a return to the back door system and was also critically vocal about the recent throw-in times for the All-Ireland quarter and semi finals, claiming it does little for the sport.

Via the Irish Examiner, he said: “I think they have got to condense the championship to a real championship, use the league for what the championship appears to be doing at the moment. You could go back maybe to the back door system where a team isn’t gone, but you have to have it as a real championship.

“I think it’s a total disaster what is happening, they are trying to promote but they have actually downgraded it to an extraordinary level.

“Before you had time to reflect and digest and enjoy the game but as soon as it’s over on Sunday they’re playing somebody the following Sunday and the focus has gone off the last match.

“I think the GAA has lost a great opportunity with all these great games from a promotion point of view.

“To travel to games on a Saturday is very difficult and even to watch on television is very difficult.”

Fenton calls for longer season

While Fenton is also concerned about the current structure of the inter-county hurling calendar, the 1984 All-Ireland SHC winning captain called for the season to be spread out over a wider period.

“I would be in favour of keeping the round-robin but we have to stretch it. It’s absolutely crazy that there’s so many games compacted into such a short space of time. It’s very unfair on the players, it’s very unfair on the spectators and it’s not giving hurling the promotion that it deserves,” he said.

“For people going to games week after week after week, the cost of it is enormous. There are players now who are starting back training again in November when they should be resting up.

“The hurling season shouldn’t be starting until May and whatever system that they come up with, it should be May and push the finals back. The compacted season is certainly not working and very unfair on the players.”

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