The GAA's new calendar will take some getting used to.
Having been accustomed to having inter-county GAA dominate the sporting calendar throughout the entire summer, the All-Ireland finals are now taking place at a much earlier date.
By having the showpiece events take place in late July, it gives club players around the country some certainty as to when their championships will take place. It also allows them to play games while the weather is still at its best.
It is a very welcome development, especially for the 95 per cent of players who have no involvement with their county setup. Despite this, a number of prominent voices in the game have been continually questioning the move to a split calendar.
Donal Óg Cusack criticises hurling calendar
Speaking to RTÉ, the former Cork goalkeeper said that hurling is shooting itself in the foot by ending the inter-county season at such an early stage of the year. He also criticised the GAA for forcing Joe McDonagh Cup finalists Antrim and Kerry to play in their preliminary quarter-finals only a week after the decider in that competition.
Antrim and Kerry played a high-scoring Joe McDonagh final a week ago and their reward is a seven-day turnaround that most feel will end with the words: 'thanks for playing lads, we'll see you next year.’
Antrim welcome Cork who have been honed in one of the best Munster Championships in years and have had time to regroup.
Kerry play a Wexford team whose last game was a victory over Kilkenny.
Both Antrim and Kerry will wonder who needs friends when you have enemies like this on the fixture committee at Croke Park...
We better make the most of it though, because there are only three hurling weekends left after tomorrow and it’s still early June.
Before we leave afternoons of July and August empty, with all the kids flocking to school in early September with no All-Ireland finals to get their imagination racing.
Pound-shop populists may disagree but if you think that long summer gap, along with the disadvantage that the quick turn-around that Kerry and Antrim are landed with this weekend is positive, then good luck from the hurling nation with shooting yourself in the foot to improve your dancing.
Donal Óg Cusack has a point about the Joe McDonagh Cup finalists being forced out again this week, but the inter-county calendar in general is much more favourable than it once was.
A number of prominent pundits have criticised the GAA's move to a split season, although such complaints have been noticeably absent among players at all levels.
It should be here to stay.