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Joe Canning And Gearoid Hegarty Not Fond Of New GAA Panels Policy

Joe Canning And Gearoid Hegarty Not Fond Of New GAA Panels Policy
By PJ Browne Updated
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Limerick hurler Gearóid Hegarty believes the new GAA policy of announcing 26-man matchday panels on Friday afternoons for the weekend's championship games is "not ideal".

Limerick, like many counties, inform players of the starting team and 11 substitutes for a Sunday match after training on a Friday evening.

"We've 36, 37 lads giving 110 per cent of themselves for the last three or four months, slogging themselves in Rathkeale in the worst weather trying to be ready for championship, and at minimum, get on the 26. That's the goal of nearly everybody: make the panel first and then make the team," Hegarty said at the launch of Bord Gáis Energy’s It’s Anyone’s Game campaign to promote inclusivity in hurling.

"As I'm sure you can understand on a human level, it's a little bit unfair if you find out in work on a Friday morning on social media whether you made the team or not."

17 April 2023; Limerick hurler Gearóid Hegarty, left, and former Galway hurler Joe Canning at the launch of Bord Gáis Energy's 'It's Anyone's Game' campaign to promote inclusivity in hurling. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Galway great Joe Canning thinks the Friday announcement adds a further burden on management teams.


"It's going to be really tough for guys who are close to the team, or even close to the 26, whether they are in or out, if they're not communicated with before that's released - it just adds more pressure to management," said Canning.

"They are going to have to make a load of phone calls to guys on a Thursday night or a Friday morning before it's released. Then, that can affect the Friday night's training.


"Some guys will be disappointed, some guys will be overjoyed. There's going to be 15 guys who are really happy, there's another [11] guys or whatever that are going to be OK, then there's another few who are really disappointed. Your last night of training, there doesn't be much done, but the atmosphere could be a little skewed."


Hegarty said he does like the idea of what the GAA is trying to do, but questioned the timing and if it would make a big difference were teams announced on a Friday night instead.

"Who does it serve? The media?" Canning continued.

"Fans, they'll hear it on a Friday night [anyway]. They'll hear it after training on local radio. We'd announce a team on a Friday night, and it's be on Galway Bay FM at 9:30pm.


"I remember we played the All-Ireland, I think it was '12, or '15, and I think [James] Skehill dislocated his shoulder on the Friday night, diving for a ball.

"I don't know how he played, but he came off again. That sort of thing can happen. Then people would be giving out anyway that this player was named and he's not starting at the weekend even though he might have picked up something on a Friday night.

"I just think it's a bit unnecessary from a team's perspective. I understand that fans and media need to get it but I don't hear much media giving out about soccer teams being announced an hour before kick-off."


As part of the campaign and to celebrate extending its sponsorship of the GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship until 2025, Bord Gáis Energy, is giving people from around Ireland the opportunity to win prizes throughout the season. Visit www.bordgaisenergy.ie/bgegaa for competition details.

See Also: Why Monaghan Hero Walked Away From Inter-County GAA Last Year

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