The Gaelic Players Association has reacted bullishly after a meeting of Cork County Board during the week floated at least the idea of playing some club championship ties without the county's senior hurlers and footballers.
In a statement this morning, the body that represents inter-county players conceded that fixture congestion was an ever-increasing problem in the modern game, but that it was the club delegates that were responsible for ensuring a balance that would accommodate county players willing to actively participate for their home sides.
They responded in the wake of a proposal by the decision makers in the Rebel County that club championship group games could take place in the summer months of May, June and July, a period traditionally roped off for the county sides. Other proposals to combat fixture congestion included getting club games out of the way in April or alternatively in August when most county seasons have to an end.
Cork delegates cited a "clear dissatisfaction with club championship programmes" in considering new ideas that work toward "a definite calendar for club games". Part of the summer proposal involved offering to accumulate half the points for a win in games were county players failed to feature.
The GPA labelled that notion as neither "fair or sensible" insisting that the pride that inter-county players show in representing their club sides "remains strong".
It is not fair or sensible that the opportunity for GPA members to represent their clubs could be taken out of their hands as part of a proposed restructuring of the Championship. We all understand that the issue of fixture scheduling and backlogs is complex and multi-faceted. The organisation of a club fixture calendar differs from county to county and there are a number of counties that facilitate a comprehensive club fixture schedule.The responsibility lies with the clubs in each individual county through their representation at county board level to guarantee that an appropriate programme of games is put in place to meet the needs of club players and one that also supports the ambition of their county players and their county team.
All 2,300 GPA members are very proud club members.They are role models for their clubs on a national level with many also heavily involved in coaching, fundraising and administrative operations. At a time when the demands on inter-county players have never been greater, as highlighted in the recent ESRI report, the sense of pride for inter county players remains strong.