Liam Casey a member of the UCD teams still involved in this year's Sigerson Cup competition. He is seen here in action last Sunday week for Tipperary against Roscommon.
Tipperary football manager Liam Kearns was scathing in his comments after last Sunday’s National Football League game between Tipperary and Clare in Ennis. The Kerryman, relieved that his side had come away with a draw, was highly critical of the current fixtures set-up in which footballers are being forced to play too many games.
Running the National Football League and the Sigerson Cup (Universities Football Competition) at the same time was the problem, and Kearns did not hold back with his words.
“I have to say too, in my view, a load of my players were playing Sigerson last week in between and I felt sorry for Jack Kennedy out there, Liam Casey another man who has played with UCD and he is going out again on Tuesday to play for UCD, Jimmy Feehan another man. I don’t know but somebody has to look at it. Asking players to play Sigerson where they need to be at their sharpest and then come in and try and play League matches. Young Russell there for Clare playing something like seven matches in a short time. Someone has to look at that. They are going on about fixtures now but players, you have to start putting players first” said Kearns.
“Another bugbear of mine. We look after their workload. I didn’t train any of them last week because we just rested them and they recovered. That’s what happens in my opinion with most county teams. It’s not the county teams. There is a perception out there that they are being flogged with the county. That is not the reality for me and any of the managers I know, they don’t flog their players either and I am only talking for the few I know and I am talking for our set-up. We give them as much space as we can. Like Emmet Moloney I had to leave him off last week because he had to play under 21 with his club and play colleges on a Thursday and he played again this Thursday and I just think we are flogging players and at some stage somebody has to say enough.”
“The players won’t complain, they will go out and do their best every time. Listen Clare had four guys playing for UL this week. They went up to Jordanstown in Ulster. The four came out there today and gave their all again but I am saying somebody needs to say this isn’t right. Start the league earlier or play the Sigerson earlier but stop putting them out in the same week,” added the Tipp boss.
When asked if the new format had made the fixtures list worse or has it improved the situation….
“We will hold fire on that now. I said what I said before that came in and I will hold fire on that now until the year is out. Everyone will have an opinion by the time the year is out. All I will say is that it is a really tough schedule at the moment” he said.
Were three games in three weeks at this time of the year, is it too much for teams?
“It isn’t just three games, they are playing six matches now, they are playing midweek and they are playing with us again. I am not saying it is not just with us, it is the same for all teams, it is the same for all managers,” concluded Kearns.