County managers want clarity on return date for training

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald wants  the Government to tackle cyberbullying and online abuse in the form of laws. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
By John Fogarty
GAA Correspondent

A number of county managers are seeking clarification from Croke Park via their boards about what they can do with players before September 14.

On Friday, Croke Park hardened their stance on breaches of the September 14 start date for collective inter-county training. Sanctions will be imposed on county chairpersons should their county teams train before then and the threat of disqualification for teams remains a possibility as per the rule being cited.

Managers want to ascertain what they are permitted to do in groups be it in the form of group discussions, analysis meetings and walkthroughs. The general argument made by them is that such gatherings would be reasonable and in keeping with the club window so long as they don’t clash with club training or matches.

Under the collective inter-county winter training ban, gym sessions and individual training is allowed as necessary prehabilitation work. However, giving the green light to even small groups of county panels working out may be contentious during a period of on-field action for club teams.

More managers are expected to lobby their chairpersons and secretaries to convince Croke Park to grant permission to players to return to county preparations after their clubs’ championship interests have ended. The Gaelic Players Association are also hoping such an accommodation can be made, although the GAA have insisted they won’t be changing the September 14 as a date for all to come back.

According to the GAA Official Guide, Rule 6.45: “Collective training is where one or more player(s) is/are required to be at a specific place at a specific time on a specific date.”

Meanwhile, Wexford chairman Derek Kent has backed the county’s senior hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald’s call for the Government to tackle cyberbullying and online abuse in the form of laws.

“I don't do social media but when you're a volunteer and working as a chairperson, you do your best to get everything right, even though you will not please everybody. Normally, the people that you don't please have time to write about it on social media. Those people need to deal with it.

"You need legislation from Government level to sort it out - some sort of strong sanction," Kent told RTÉ. “I could ban a journalist from a county board meeting, but a lot of these hate spreaders are anonymous. You need to root them out."

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