Lee Keegan suggests big changes to GAA calendar that could help avoid burnout 3 months ago

Lee Keegan suggests big changes to GAA calendar that could help avoid burnout

"We’re putting more risk on players with injuries."

Mayo legend Lee Keegan has suggested making some big changes to the current GAA calendar that could help prevent player burnout.

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The split season has brought with it loads of benefits, especially from a player's point of view, but there are some elements of the previous structure that have been squeezed into it that are holding things back.

Pre-season competitions such as the O'Byrne Cup, McKenna Cup, FBD League and the McGrath Cup, are bringing players back too early in the year, and Keegan believes that they don't serve the same purpose anymore.

"I’d banish [preseason competitions]," Keegan told RTÉ Sport. "With the tight schedule, the calendar is so tight, we’re putting more risk on players with injuries.

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"The National League starts in January. Just that short time frame doesn’t give players enough time."

"I feel the integrity [of these competitions] has been lost a little bit. We mentioned the O’Byrne Cup last year with teams not fulfilling fixtures.

"It’s not a good look for the competition. Ulster always seems to be able to make a huge effort.

"There’s enough revenue made through the league, the provincial championships so I don’t really see the point of it for the players. They’re training all year round. Teams are already back in preseason."

David and Paudie Clifford played a combined 113 games over the past two seasons due to incredible runs from their club Fossa and the Kerry county team, but it has meant that they have had virtually no beak in that time.

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The absence of a pre-season competition would at least free up their schedule little more, and give them time to recover.

"I look at the Cliffords, for example," Keegan says. "Those guys need a break. I understand what Jack [O’Connor] was doing, setting out his store for the first year.

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"Looking at it from a Mayo perspective in the FBD, there just isn’t that enticement there anymore. They won it last year and then what happened, they went at the league really hard and they burned out towards the tail-end of the year – the most important part of the year.

"For me, I think it’s about laying down roots in terms of a good preseason, getting back in training, league starts in January and sure you’re away then."

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