The GAA has to look at reverting the inter county championship season continuing until August/September, Fine Gael TD Alan Dillon has said.
The former Mayo inter county star, who contested six All-Ireland senior football finals, said Gaelic football and hurling is losing out massively to other sports with the major GAA competitions finished before the August bank holiday weekend.
Last year, GAA congress voted in favour of a split season to allow county clubs have their own dedicated calendar.
“I’m all in favour of GAA clubs and club players having certainty with dates and when they are playing. This is absolutely needed as club players, coaches, volunteers and supporters are the lifeblood of the GAA. Without them, inter county teams will not achieve any success.
“However, it is too early in the year for the senior football and hurling championships to be finished. We will not have any more action until next January at the earliest – more than five months away. In the meantime, other sports get the attention and coverage the GAA would normally have achieved throughout August and September,” Deputy Dillon said.
“Consequently, GAA overall loses out. With all due respect to the club championships, and I value my own as much as anyone else, they will not gain the same attention as the intercounty championships.
“The race for Sam Maguire and Liam McCarthy this year were brilliant, along with the inaugural Tailteann Cup. They kept us enthralled and excited for the last few months. So why lock away your best shows for almost half a year? It simply doesn’t make sense.
“Anyone involved in marketing will say the same. Come the start of 2023, the demand for intercounty games will be immense. It is too long a break from now until then. I would urge GAA officials, club and county board delegates to rethink the issue for future years.
“I know this year’s Congress, held in Mayo in February, agreed a new senior football competition starting next year. Great, let’s trial that and see how it goes but we have to re-think the finishing dates of our showpiece competitions. Finishing in July is far too early,” Deputy Dillon concluded.