The GAA’s upcoming Special Congress could lead to widespread change in the association’s calendar for the foreseeable future.
With the majority of GPA members backing ‘Proposal B’ to allow for a fairer and more competitive football championship in 2022 and beyond, the body that represents players’ interests has said that a shift in competitions that teams play in could subsequently lead to a change in the time that matches take place.
Friday night games have rarely been used in intercounty football or hurling due to players’ and coaching staff’s commitments outside of the GAA.
That may no longer be the case, however. If ‘Proposal B’ is passed at the Special Congress on October 23, there will be more games than ever before for intercounty football players in what is an already tight and widely criticised calendar that fixtures in all codes and grades must be played within.
This has opened up the possibility of Friday evening throw-ins according to Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan.
“I’d say the biggest part would be that it’s a game like Tyrone-Armagh, or Tyrone-Derry from an Ulster point of view. In the south there’d be different permutations.
“I think it would be a huge talking point because not much actually goes on, on a Friday night in terms of sport. It could really open up an audience,” Morgan said.
He added: “Like the Premiership in England, you could come up with a theme of Friday night football. Players would have to be surveyed because it would have to suit them and their work schedules but if it was put out early enough and players knew this was going to happen, (it could work).
“Tyrone went to all-Friday night (club) league games this year. Some players liked it, and some didn’t so it would have to be carefully surveyed. For example, if there was no one involved in Division 1 close to Tyrone that would mean we’re not going to be involved and so it’s not up to us to talk about it.”
The co-chair of the Gaelic Players Association Marie Kinsella gave the example of how Friday night games have been a huge success in ladies football.
“I think we’ve also seen the amount of coverage the ladies’ game has received as a result of having no competition and the LGFA came out quite strategically and said we’re only going to make it happen if there are two neighbouring counties,” Kinsella explained.
“I think something like that is logistically just common sense for a Friday night game.
“It has done a huge amount for the development of the ladies game this year and I’m expecting those Friday night games to continue but again, there are pros and cons and the memberships should have an opinion on it, yes or no. We have to get back to our members on it.”