No return to September All-Ireland Finals envisaged
By John Harrington
GAA Director General, Tom Ryan, says he doesn’t envisage All-Ireland Finals ever taking place in September again.
2022 was the first year of the three-year trial of the GAA season being split equally between county and club action, with the All-Ireland Finals taking place in July.
And while Ryan says it’s still too soon to describe it as “an unqualified success”, he was “greatly encouraged” by how it unfolded.
“I don’t envisage a return to the much loved September All-Ireland Finals that we all grew up with,” said Ryan in his Annual Report which was published today.
“I completely understand the power of tradition, and all that those weekends entailed. However times change and we have to change with them.
“We have the opportunity now to start building new Summer traditions for a new generation of GAA players and supporters.
“I feel strongly that the new shape of the GAA season has a lot to commend it and offers us a solid template upon which to build.”
Ryan admits there were “some downsides” to the newly structured season in 2022, but overall he saw more positives than negatives.
“The transition from county to club was orderly and player-centred,” he said. “For the first time club players were presented with certainty regarding club championship dates.
“In addition the club championships themselves enjoyed an unprecedented spotlight.
“There were downsides, of course. The commitment required of players is significant. Some inter-county players will inevitably have a prolonged club season in the latter part of the year. All the more reason, then, for a robust closed season.
“And yes, the inter-county matches certainly come thick and fast, making competitions challenging to promote and placing a burden on would-be spectators and those staging the games.
“There were questions raised about how effectively we used the club championship portion of the season in every county.
“The finality of “Finish on the Day” did not meet with favour in all quarters. We may be able to temper some of these slightly as the trial period unfolds.”
- The 2023 Annual Report can be viewed and downloaded below.