Corofin, NUIG and Galway star Kieran Molloy is no stranger to fixture congestion in the GAA.
In the last couple of seasons while representing his club and his college, Molloy has been the victim of an incredibly hectic schedule.
In 2018, he played an All-Ireland Club semi-final with Corofin as well as a Sigerson Cup final with NUIG in the same day, getting a Garda escort from Tullamore to Dublin.
This year, he starred a Corofin beat Gaoth Dobhair in last four of the All-Ireland Club Championships before lining up in a Sigerson semi-final against UCC 24 hours later.
Speaking on Tuesday as he was crowned the AIB GAA Club Footballer of the Year for 2018/19, Molloy outlined his frustrations at the lack of a meaningful break between games both in 2018 and 2019.
“Definitely frustrating, he began you feel hard done by especially there the final against UCD (2018) only getting 20 minutes because someone messed up on a fixture it’s very hard done by.
“I know this year they put it off a day but it was still… It’s not enough, not enough time to recover and get the head right and I think this year there were three players involved.
“I know, Shaw from Crokes and Liam Silke as well and Liam didn’t get to play the game. I don’t think it’s fair at all on players. “
He also explained what was going through his mind in 2018 as he rushed from Tullamore to Dublin to help out his college team.
“You weren’t even thinking, I just wanted to get up there and help the lads. It didn’t matter what the score was, I just wanted to get up and help the lads out.
“I didn’t [keep boots on] because I had to run out to the car so I didn’t get a chance. I had a banana and a bottle of water on the way.”
The tale of running from one match to another with the help of a Garda escort makes for an excellent story but the recent fixture congestion does raise serious player welfare issues in the game.
Molloy explained that even with the 24 hour break this year he feels that the welfare of the players was not taken into account at all.
“I went home and I got some form of a sleep but you know, you’d have liked to have gone out with the lads or whatever but you had to go home and you go straight down the next morning on the bus with the lads (NUIG).
“The legs were in bits, just no recovery time at all especially after a hard game there like Gaoth Dobhair they’re a great side, it was hard, a tough tough game, the pitch was kind of heavy.
“Then you had to go down on a bus journey all the way down to Cork. You’d be stiff getting off the bus. I don’t think player welfare was taken into account at all.”
As for solutions, Molloy feels that pushing the club fixtures back to have them all finished “before Christmas even” could be a logical step.
“I think there was talks of putting it back to January and having it all finished off in January and that would be a great first step to be able to do that, but I think they could go back more and try get it all played off before Christmas even. “
Corofin’s Kieran Molloy was crowned the AIB GAA Club Footballer of the Year for 2018/19. AIB and the GAA honoured 30 players on Saturday evening at the second annual AIB GAA Club Player Awards held at Croke Park.
The AIB GAA Club Player Awards recognise the top performing players throughout the Club Championships in hurling and football and celebrate their hard work, commitment and individual achievements at a national level. AIB are proud to be in their 28th season as sponsors of the AIB GAA Club Championship.