Time to End GAA Replays

Players at all levels would be best served if all GAA matches were played to a conclusion at the first time of asking.

Players at all levels would be best served if all GAA matches were played to a conclusion at the first time of asking.

The next bold step which the GAA must take is to, at the very least, introduce extra-time at the end of all drawn matches.

In fact, I’d go one further if I had the power, and ensure that a match was played to a result on the first occasion, thus freeing up the calendar from replays altogether.

In a sporting calendar which now sees Gaelic Games at some level or another being played up 46 to 48 weeks of every year, Croke Park has got to do something to reduce the length of the playing calendar.

Take the case of your talented third level hurler who could be playing Fresher’s Hurling (in first year only), along with Fitzgibbon Cup, senior club hurling (while also being available for a handful of intermediate games), senior/intermediate/ junior club football, as well as under-21 and senior inter-county hurling.

In theory, such a talented GAA player could line out for as many as nine different teams in a single year. Take training sessions, different training programmes and different managerial demands into account, and it doesn’t make for a pretty picture.

In an era where the average senior hurler is increasingly studying for a career in primary school teaching (one of the few professions that players can schedule training around adequately), Croke Park must move to protect young hurlers and footballers. Eliminating replays from the Gaelic Games schedule is wholly logical – but cash is king, so don’t expect anything revolutionary on that front any time soon.

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