Fixture congestion is raising its head again this weather in Gaelic games.
Last week the conversation was around Fitzgibbon and Sigerson players playing inter-county at the weekend with colleges games midweek; now it’s the turn of schools camogie fixtures at the weekend with the Tesco Ireland Minor A championship following 24 hours later.
Speaking to Camán Caint host Martin Quilty after Kilkenny’s win over Waterford on Sunday, minor manager Mike Wall expressed his concerns with a strong view on player welfare.
“I don’t give out often”, says Wall, “but there certainly needs to be something looked at with the fixture congestion.”
“I was told that the Camogie Association has nothing to do with the schools or vice-versa, but they’re all operating under the one banner. We spoke to the parents, we spoke to the girls (Sunday), and we actually considered not playing the girls that played (Saturday) because we felt their welfare was more important than winning a game.”
A bold statement considering Kilkenny are defending their All-Ireland minor crown won against Cork last season.
“The girls wanted to play, they came through it unscathed but they shouldn’t be put in that position.”
The concerns raised were over the All-Ireland schools fixtures being played out the same weekend with Loreto Kilkenny heading to Athenry – both sides featuring inter-county minor players.
That camogie colleges semi-final between Loreto and Presentation Athenry ended up going to extra time and all the way to 45s with the game tied at 2-05 to 1-08. Loreto would lose on sudden death but also get 80 minutes of game time under the legs before heading to Thomastown on Sunday for a championship game.
“We’ve all seen the drop off in camogie after minor and I don’t think that the Camogie Association, with their fixture congestion, a lot of those girls can’t be enjoying their camogie because of the congestion.”
“If they want to keep the talented players they have at this high level, they’ve got to look after them.”
Kilkenny’s minors are in action again this coming weekend in the second round of the championship with a trip to Clare set for 2pm on Sunday.