Tipperary captain Padraic Maher will be a busy boy next season.
A seismic shift in mindset required in Tipperary
The impact of the decisions of the Tipperary clubs at last weeks meeting of the County Board will be severely felt in the Tipperary senior hurling panel with players due to line out almost on a continual basis from the end of January right through to whenever the season finishes for The Premier County, and then afterwards again with clubs, depending on individual progress.
Tipperary will play hurling leagues games on January 28th – March 24th if Tipp go all the way to the final. Then, the divisional club championships begin on April 1st to be completed in all divisions, except the north, by April 15th. Tipp's first Munster championship game is on May 20th against Limerick and they then play consecutive weeks against Cork, Waterford and Clare. The Munster Final is fixed for July 1st.
So, if Tipp were to get all the way to the League Final and to the Munster Final, and captain Padraic Maher were to play all the games in the blue and gold jersey and for his club Thurles Sarsfields in the divisional championship if they were to contest the mid final and play the first round of the county championship, he will have played 16 competitive games from January 28th – July 1st (in 22 weeks). It will be an enormous ask of the player and the Tipperary backroom team will face significant challenges to keep players fresh and on the field throughout this very congested period. Remember, they will also be expecting to get some training and coaching under the belt during this period as well.
The situation eases somewhat after the Munster championship but Manager Michael Ryan is on record as saying that given the Munster format and the huge demands on players, it will take all their effort to get to the All-Ireland series. The third place in Munster and Leinster play a finalist in the Joe McDonagh Cup with the provincial runner-up to play these winners. The provincial champions go straight to the All-Ireland semi-final and the All-Ireland Final will be all over and done with by August 19th.
While much emphasis was on the retention of the link between the divisional and county championships, the reality now is that in three of the four divisions, the championships will be all wrapped up in a fortnight and will be completed by mid April – the divisional championships had not even started by that stage in 2017.
However, the sixteen clubs who put forward the successful motion have gone with the feelings of their players and at thge end of the day, that is exactly what is supposed to happen. It's not perfect, but as Gortnahoe Glengoole man Micheal Egan told delegates, “I don't think there is any such thing as the perfect system.”
Tipperary will undergo a seismic shift in terms of fixtures in 2018. It will require a major change in mindset on the past of players and supporters.
Twelve months will tell a lot and the Killenaule motion seeking review at the end of the season may well be the most important motion adopted on the night.