Two years ago the GAA came up with the decision to split the qualifiers in two and do away with the six day turnaround for those teams who were beaten in a provincial final.
This has worked very well, but the problem is still occurring in the early rounds as can be seen by the Offaly and Kildare game this weekend.
A six day turnaround is bad enough to deal with, never mind mentally recovering from the hammering Dublin gave them and having to deal with defections from their squad. It really is the week from hell for Jason Ryan and his management team. Another spanner in the works is the earlier throw in and its almost a five day turnaround if you take everything into consideration. All of these factors combined have given Offaly their best chance to beat their rivals in ten years.
Considering where both these counties have been over the last couple of years the Lillywhites would fully expect to beat their rivals on a normal day but now you just never know what could happen. It’s always noticeable that Fermanagh and Antrim are not playing until Sunday so you have to wonder why the same couldn’t be done for this game to at least guarantee some fair play.
This is not a GAA issue though, as they set out the dates at the beginning of the year and its up to the relevant provincial councils then to make sure they set out the sufficient dates for their games to ensure each team has enough time to recover. The Leinster council have failed massively in this regard by fixing the Dublin and Kildare game for last Sunday even though they knew the loser would be forced to play again this weekend.
The problem here is that the Leinster council like to play their semi-finals as a double header. That’s where the problem has originated from and it’s something that needs to be solved quickly as this is something that just cant be let happen again. Kildare are basically being punished here for reaching a Leinster Semi-final – which is definitely wrong.
The six day turnaround definitely has an effect, as last years round 4 qualifiers shows where three of the four provincial losers gained wins which is in direct comparison to what was happening before. It’s now up to the GAA to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again as it cant be a rule for one and another rule for others.
Its interesting to note that there has been next to nothing said about this in the media during the week. You’d have to wonder what the reaction would be if it was Dublin and not Kildare playing Offaly this weekend. It would make for some very interesting reading at the very least, and people might sit up and notice that something is wrong.
What is for sure is that a Kildare win would solve the GAA a lot of problems, while a backlash could follow if the opposite happens.