Dermot Earley: "It will be interesting to see how the Super 8s go"

Kildare legend and GPA CEO touches on fixture issues on Off The Ball

Dermot Earley, GPA

GPA CEO Dermot Earley ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

The issue of fixtures in the GAA is still ever present as evidenced by the Club Players Association's proposals this week seeking changes including the month of April being for clubs only.

On this week's Saturday Panel on Off The Ball, the Gaelic Players Association chief executive Dermot Earley was in studio alongside Michael Fennelly and Kevin Conlon.

The topic of fixtures did come up and Kildare legend Earley spoke about the fact that making changes within the GAA will be a case of evolution rather than revolution.

"I think we're seeing change happening at the moment and it's incremental. I think the GAA is an association where we can't just come in and change everything," he said.

"There's too many stakeholders involved, there's too much of an appetite not to change. So incremental change is probably the best form at the moment. We're seeing it in the football and it will be interesting to see how the Super 8s go next year. 

"We're seeing it in the hurling. I think it's a very exciting Championship proposal for next year. So we'll see how that goes. My plan as part of the strategic plan is to look at all the competitions including third level, the National League and the Championship and if we can make change there, then that'll be successful. We have to be mindful that the provincial councils are still there and within the provincial councils, there isn't an appetite for change so it's about managing that relationship and seeing what's best incrementally over the next couple of years."    

He added that what players want is to reduce the number of "training to games ratios", citing that when when Kerry won the All Ireland in 2015, the training to game ratio was 12 training sessions to one match. 

As part of their competitions review processes, he confirmed that they have spoken to the CPA, adding that "I support the Club Players' proposals to leave the month of April free for club games".  

You can listen to the full Panel on the podcast player below or stream/download on iTunes: