Home GAA Opinion: It Was A Difficult Choice But Dublin U21 Players Should Have Played For Their Clubs

Opinion: It Was A Difficult Choice But Dublin U21 Players Should Have Played For Their Clubs

In the wake of the Dublin u21 footballers defeating Donegal at the weekend, attention swiftly focused elsewhere – to club fixtures.

The players made another plea to the County Board to put off the first round of the SFC, but to no avail. Thus they made the decision to withdraw their services for this weekend’s round of games.

You may look at this and think it is unfair on the players – and it is. To expect them to play for their clubs the weekend before an All-Ireland final isn’t what would happen in a perfect world. But we do not live in a perfect world and these games have to be played.

Counties are put in precarious positions when it comes to club fixtures – it is a real ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ situation. How often do we hear complaints that county managers dictate everything and put the club games to a standstill? Now the Dublin County Board are insisting that the round of games be played. As I conceded it’s far from perfect, but playing the games is the best of a bad lot of choices they have.

So many of the problems that people cite are blighting the GAA in 2017 are full of contradictions. There isn’t enough time for club games – yet people want a ‘Champions League’ style championship, guaranteeing more games. Burnout is a big issue – yet we constantly hear about the training-to-matches ratio. Then despite the concerns outlined above, anytime a team goes on a qualifier run and get beaten, the excuse the made that it is too hard to play three or four weekends in a row.

Dublin got the benefit of Donegal playing a few weeks in a row before the semi-final – now the shoe is on the other foot. It is an All-Ireland final and yes, the players deserve to be given everything they need in preparation.

It would be the worst case imaginable if a player got an injury playing club football just a week before the All-Ireland final, however, players can also get injured training and the team will surely meet three or four times before the decider in Tullamore so this risk is there anyway.

At some point, those with the power to make decisions have to take a stand. They have to ignore the contradictory complaints and say this is what we are going to do. In this case, the Dublin CCC did just that. The decision they made is turning out to be unpopular – but if they called off the club games, there would be as many people giving out.

It was a lose-lose situation and, make no mistake, the Dublin county board lost. However, they made a call and, assuming they stand by it, are putting out a few for the benefit of the many. Isn’t that what they are supposed to do?


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About Joel Slattery

Joel Slattery
Sub-editor at Pundit Arena. Bad at predictions, Joel was also slightly uncomfortable writing this bio in the third person. Mail: [email protected]