Just when you thought the recent pile-up of GAA fixtures couldn't get any worse or more ridiculous, it somehow manages to throw up another maddening situation that hardly seemed possible for one of its younger starlets.
Jerome Boylan is on the cusp of achieving every player's dream by potentially winning an All-Ireland with his club Na Piarsaigh when they face reigning champions Cuala in the senior hurling final this year on March 17. He could realise that dream twice this season, however.
Boylan recently won the Dr. Harty Cup when he lined out at wing-back for Ardscoil Rís in the final against Midleton CBS, propelling the side into the All-Ireland semi-finals. What should be a dream scenario though, is more akin to a nightmare situation as the school will have to play the hugely important encounter on March 19 -- just two days later.
This latest fixture clash follows on from the ridiculous situation that arose from last weekend, when Kieran Molloy and Liam Silke had to choose between club and college. Both men were lining out for Corofin on the same day the Sigerson Cup final was due to take place, with each player involved on opposite sides of the ball. Molloy made a mad dash in a Garda car to make a substitute appearance for NUI Galway in their defeat to UCD.
The school are apparently trying to rearrange the game for another date in order to lessen the burden on Boylan, but it seems scarcely believable that a schoolchild could be put in such a position. Stories of fixture dilemmas are becoming so common these days, maybe it should become a competition in itself? Perhaps we'll have former players extolling about the days they had to compete in four games in 16 hours, rather than the medals won in the process.
The strain on players seems to only grow in the era of amateur professionalism/professional amateurism, but there's no let up in sight. For if there is one thing the GAA excels at, it's filling the calendar with a shite load of fixtures, pumping out game after game like the Exxon Valdez on a bad day.