GAA

'You're Rolling The Dice With Your Summer Every Week. People Won't Stick With It'

'You're Rolling The Dice With Your Summer Every Week. People Won't Stick With It'

Lar Corbett can understand why young hurlers or footballers would be frustrated with the club game at the moment.

During the prime days of the summer, they twiddle their thumbs waiting for their club championship to resume - or just start - as the inter-county season trundles along.

The shop window which club championship during the summer once provided is now boarded up.

"It's grand for me at 37-years-old - I had my time at inter-county and I was delighted to come back to the club," two-time Tipp All-Ireland winner Corbett told Balls at the launch of Tipperary v Kilkenny: The Legends Return — a benefit match for Amanda Stapleton.

"I would be very disappointed if I was an ambitious 19-year-old. Who can see me playing for my club so I can go on and represent Tipperary?

"It's very frustrating for club players, they can't play, they can't be seen - it's very hard to get a break into an inter-county team."

It is a frustration which Kilkenny goalkeeper, Eoin Murphy, also understands. In years prior to this, Kilkenny panel members continued to play with their club during the summer. That was not logistically possible this year with the introduction of the Leinster Championship round-robin stage.

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"The club scene is really being left behind by the GAA, in a sense," said Murphy, also speaking at the launch in the Amanda Stapleton Benefit Match.

Putting one month aside, like April, throughout the good months of the summer is a bit pathetic when it is the backbone of the GAA.

They are the conveyor belt for guys that will play inter-county over the next few years. They're the guys that will be making the money for the GAA for years to come - we can't forget about them.

In Kilkenny this year, we didn't play another competitive group game until 14 or 15 weeks after the first.

Both Corbett and Murphy can see young players slipping away during the summer, be it to other pastimes or to America where they can play week in, week out.

"We're based in south Kilkenny," said Murphy.

"The N25, the Rosslare/Waterford Road or Cork Road, cuts right through our village. We're right between New Ross and Waterford, ten minutes from both.

"We would have a few players who'd regularly play rugby, play soccer. They have a schedule at the start of the year. They know exactly when they're going to be playing games.

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"Next year, the Junior Soccer in Kilkenny is going to a summer competition. When you have guys who play both games, both sports and the hurling is not going on for 15 or 16 weeks, they're not going to bother training. They won't bother coming back and will just throw their lot into the soccer because they will have games."

"You see guys this year, they went to America," said Corbett.

"People are not going to stay around. Next year, what you're going to see is that other inter-county players are going to follow suit. They will go to America for the summer because chances are, their club won't be playing. The reason why they're going is because no one can tell them when they're going to play next.

"If someone could tell them, 'OK, you're not going to play for eight weeks.' That would be OK because they could sort out their holidays or sort out family commitments but then someone tells them, 'You're playing next week. Tipp got beat.'

"Then they're going to play Sunday, Wednesday, Sunday, Sunday. Lose any of those games and it's over, their year is gone - that's what you're dealing with.

"You're rolling the dice with your summer every week. People won't stick with it."

You can buy tickets for the Amanda Stapleton Benefit Match between Tipperary and Kilkenny on November 3rd via Tickets.ie and you can donate money to the Amanda Stapleton Benefit Fund via Go Fund Me.

Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

See Also: Emotional Eddie Brennan Thought 'Days Like These Were Gone'

PJ Browne
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