PLANNING Mayo GAA Board vice-chairman Con Moynihan. Pic: Michael Donnelly
MAYO GAA fixtures chief Con Moynihan admits that drawing up a schedule of games for club players in the county for the coming months was ‘a balancing act between club and inter-county’ players.
Moynihan, who is the chairman of Mayo GAA’s Competitions Control Committee, also explained that the CCC ‘set out to structure our championship to make it of maximum benefit, not just to the two percent of county footballers but to the 100 percent of club footballers’.
Mayo GAA released their schedule of matches for the 2020 Mayo senior leagues and club championships earlier this week.
The senior, intermediate and junior club football championships will be played out during a six-week window, beginning on the weekend of August 7/8/9 and ending on the weekend of September 18/19/20.
The Mayo senior football squad are due to return to collective training from September 14 with the restart of inter-county matches pencilled in by GAA authorities for October 17 at the earliest.
“It’s a balancing act between club and inter-county,” Con Moynihan told The Mayo News last night. “We wouldn’t expect club managers to plan for a knock-out championship game without inter-county players.
“It’s just not feasible that you can plan for a County Final on October 11 with Mayo possibly playing Leitrim the week after.
“It’s not healthy for inter-county players, and it’s probably not safe.
“So how we structured our championship was to make it of maximum benefit, not just to the two percent of county footballers but to the 100 percent of club footballers.
“That’s what we set out to do last Monday.”
Moynihan said that both Mayo senior team managers James Horan (football) and Derek Walsh (hurling) ‘were happy enough with what we tried to do’ with the club schedule that was drawn up by the CCC when they were both contacted after Monday night’s meeting.
“The general consensus from our CCC group was that lads will be chomping at the bit to get back playing football,” said Moynihan, who is also the County Board’s vice-chairman.
“Look, everyone isn’t going to be happy with what we’ve done, but we’re happy with what we’ve done. The general feedback from five or six clubs I’ve spoken to, there’s been no negativity — nobody has said it to my face anyway!
“I think it will be an exceptional club championship. The cream will rise to the top.”
Moynihan also explained his committee’s thinking behind the Mayo GAA Senior Leagues being halved and split between the beginning and end of the club championships.
He also confirmed that there will be promotion and relegation in this season’s leagues while two ‘starred’ rounds (where clubs play without county players) will take place in October.
“If we just played championship we could have the season over on September 20,” he said.
“I think league football is vital for lads — competition is what the nature of our Association is all about. I think the first weekend or two will be a celebration of football more than anything, the fact that lads are on a pitch.
“What we’re hoping to do is run the leagues to a conclusion with semi-finals and finals.
“Again, in relation to promotion and relegation, there has to be a carrot at the end of every tournament.
“When Mayo are out of the championship, those semi-finals and finals will be played.
“How we structure that will need a conversation once we get the national fixtures schedule for October and November.”
* You can read our full interview with Mayo GAA Board vice-chairman Con Moynihan in next week’s edition of The Mayo News.