DERRY and Slaughtneil dual star Chrissy McKaigue says that Congress accepting Páraic Duffy’s proposals for Championship reform will “leave a lasting damage on the fabric” of the GAA.
McKaigue is currently preparing to play in his second All-Ireland semi-final in as many weeks when his club take on Leinster champions Cuala for a place in the senior club hurling final.
Despite his commitment to Derry, whom he captained last year, McKaigue has also been a loyal servant to Slaughtneil, helping them dominate the Oak Leaf club scene in both football and hurling.
He has also recently taken on the role as the county’s Club Players Association representative and he admits to a grave concern ahead of Congress this weekend.
The GAA’s Ard Stiurthoir, through Central Council, will put forward his long-debated proposal to introduce a round-robin at the quarter-final stage of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.
Twinned with motions to bring the All-Ireland finals forward by three weeks and abolish replays with the exception of provincial and All-Ireland finals, its fate is set to go right to the wire.
The motions have widely promoted by figureheads from the GAA as being helpful to clubs by freeing up three weekends in the calendar, despite evidence to the contrary.
One Ulster county conducted a study on the exact impact the proposals would have on how many games inter-county players would be available to play with their clubs, and found that it would be “at least” three fewer.
McKaigue says that he is strongly in opposition to Duffy’s proposals and that their implementation would prove ‘catastrophic’ for clubs.
“All in all I am very much against Páraic Duffy’s proposals,” he said.
“The worrying thing is that the people voting these types of initiatives in seem to have no idea what the players want or need.
“The clubs are already suffering so the new proposals would prove catastrophic then.”
The Club Players Association’s chairman Micheál Briody yesterday hit out, accusing GAA President Aogan Ó Fearghail of “ignoring the will of more than 20,000 club players” and pleading with Congress to “stand up for the grassroots of the GAA”.
McKaigue, who turned in one of the all-time great club Championship performances when he scored four points from centre-back off Diarmuid Connolly in their footballers’ win over St Vincent’s two weeks ago, left it in no uncertain terms how he considers the proposals would negatively impact on clubs.
“I’m a big backer of the CPA and all that it aims to support.
“For the me the way to go is to condense the season but it’s just not as straight forward as that.
“For me if Duffy’s proposals go ahead it’s going to leaving a lasting damage to the clubs, which is the fabric of everything that is good in the GAA world.”
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