Reports this morning stated that players have already returned to training in advance of the official pre-season
WHAT? A manager or two involved in breaking rules and a blind eye is being turned? NEVER!
Michael Verney has written in today’s Irish Independent of players feeling so miserable, they considered driving their car into a ditch rather than train in the muck.
According to some of the anonymous players spoken to, the staggered return to training times are being flaunted and worse still, no expenses are being paid to players training outside the official windows. One player tells a story about a group of them going to a fast food restaurant after training as no food was provided.
The training ban means counties have staggered return to training times depending on when they exited the Championship, however some panels have come back before they are supposed to as they try to get an edge for next season.
Off the Ball analyst Billy Joe Padden, who played for both Mayo and Armagh, has suggested the abolition of the pre-season competitions as a solution: "In order for people to stop training this time of year, you've got to stop having games on the first weekend of January. County managers are always going to be tempted to get guys back at this time of year. They want to be winning these games, even if the public don’t deem them that important.”
While admitting that players must keep themselves in shape year round, Padden says if games started latter then new managers wouldn’t be under as much pressure to get them ready.
The increased publicity of teams training outside the window may encourage the GAA and county boards to act according to Padden, but change maybe slow in coming as the pre-season games remain in place.