Silke calls for club calendar season
By John Harrington
AIB GAA Club Footballer of the Year, Liam Silke, believes the All-Ireland Club Championships should be completed in a calendar year.
It’s long been the tradition for the All-Ireland Club Finals to be held on St. Patrick’s Day the year after the county and provincial championships have been played.
But even though Silke’s club Corofin have won two All-Ireland Club Championships in the past four years he’s not a fan of the current system.
He says it puts excessive demands on elite club players like him who are also members of inter-county panels, and would much prefer if the All-Ireland Club Finals were held in December.
“Yeah, 100 per cent,” he told GAA.ie “There needs to be something done to address the problem. The way it is, the last five years I've been on the go non-stop, going from club to county.
“Obviously it's only a select few who are in that position or have that problem because there are only eight or so clubs going onto that stage of the year.
“But there still needs to be some divide put in place and something needs to be done to rectify the problem because it's not really fair on players.
“Those Corofin players (who have rejoined the Galway panel) are now are on the back foot.
“They haven't got those few months pre-season put in and they've missed the whole League.
“So it's going to be hard for them to try to break into the team because there have been players there doing it for the past few months.”
Having the All-Ireland Club Finals on St. Patrick’s Day has made it something of a red-letter date in the GAA calendar, but Silke doesn’t take it would detract from the occasion if the Finals were held in December instead.
“After a few years you'd nearly forget it was on St. Patrick's Day,” he said.
“You'd be looking forward to December for the All-Ireland Finals.
“It's great to have that tradition, but it's more important to be looking after the players and making sure that they're getting their best opportunity to prepare well for both club and county.
“And, as you can see, Croke Park is always in great shape. I don't think the weather is going to have any impact on that, really.”
After a hectic few years with club and county, Silke has decided to take a break from the game for the summer.
Currently studying a Postgraduate Degree in Medicine in UCD, once he completes his exams in early May he’ll head to Boston for the summer with his girlfriend and a few others.
I still want to play for Galway, I love playing for Galway
It was a difficult decision to make because the Galway footballers have started the season so impressively, but he’s still content that it was the right one.
“Yeah, it does make the decision harder when they're going so well,” admitted Silke. “But, look, this is my last opportunity to do it. It was this year or never, really.
“With the course I'm doing it's the only year that I'd have the full summer off. I kind of just want to take the opportunity to travel while I can because I won't get it again.
“And, also, I'd like a bit of a break because I've been on the go for the last five years with Corofin and Galway. It's nice to be able to take the break, but, again, I don't like missing out on the Championship and that.
“It's great to see Galway do so well, I'm very happy for them. What they've built this year will be there to see in the next few years and they'll reap the rewards.
"I still want to play for Galway, I love playing for Galway. That's not going to change, it's just to take a short break and hopefully be back in there."