GAA Closed Season!!

All counties are flouting the Closed Season training ban

GAA Closed Season!!

In a game that could have gone either way, it was a Kilcoo penalty which ultimately sealed Glenswilly’s fate when the game hung in the balance.

Until then, the game went from end to end but unfortunately a high challenge by a Glenswillly player resulted in a spot kick and even worse, a red card for the offending player. Glenswilly, with a man down, found Kilcoo difficult to handle and the County Down champions eventually ran out easy winners.

It was certainly a lot to ask to make the long journey to Newry and come home with a result. Still, Glenswilly can be proud of the achievement this year and indeed in recent years which gives all senior Donegal teams hope for the future. It wasn’t that long since they were playing junior football and it is a credit to the Glenswilly club to have reach such high standards in such a short period of time.


There may be a lull in activity in on the GAA playing pitches now but, behind the scenes inter-county teams are preparing assiduously all around the country in preparation for the season ahead which officially begins in January 2017.

Article 6.44 of the GAA Official Guide Part 1 states that “Closed Months/Collective Training Collective training: 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. Senior Inter-County panels may return to collective training and/or games for the following year on a Chapter 6 GAMES & COMPETITIONS 117 timetable determined by their time of exit from the All-Ireland Championship in a current year as follows: Exit June: Commence Training November 15th. Exit July/All-Ireland Quarter-Finals: Commence Training December 1st. Exit August/All-Ireland Semi-Finals: Commence Training December 8th. Exit September (excluding All-Ireland Semi-Finals): Commence Training December 9th. There shall be a mandatory closed period for games and collective training of all Senior Inter-County panels from December 21st to 28th inclusive.

This may be a lot to take in but, basically the rule is stating that the earlier a team exits the championship, the earlier they are allowed to train collectively for the following season. This is a rule that is certainly not adhered to in many counties. It is there to protect player ‘burn-out’ apparently. I believe it is a genuine attempt by the GAA to curtail the amount of training that inter-county players undertake.

The pressures on teams to succeed in modern football, especially by the so-called better teams, pushes managers to flaunt this rule. There is no such thing as a ‘closed season’ nowadays.

The full guide is available on the internet if you want some bedtime reading! Better still, read ‘Confessions of a Gaelic footballer’. The term “burn-out” did not exist in my time as an inter-county footballer. The structure of the national league and championship was different then which allowed for time out. I always looked forward to returning to collective training with the lads. We were re-energised and full of enthusiasm. The introduction of the ‘back-door’ system means more games in the current structure. I believe that it is all too intense and pressurised today.

The enjoyment factor for the players has been somewhat diluted. We cannot simply blame managers or coaches for this change. The players are demanding higher standards. They want the best support system in terms of conditioning coaching, nutrition, medical back-up and psychology. That is how much the game has evolved.

I feel that ultimately, that the life span as an inter-county footballer will shorten as a result. Remember that these lads have to hold down full-time jobs as well as keep up with their training demands. Professionalism is already here which is going to prove a major headache for the GAA in the near future.

The Dublin City marathon took place last Sunday in Dublin where almost four hundred Donegal athletes took part. Road running has become a major craze in recent times and it is great to see so many people taking up the sport. It has given these people a new lease of life. To complete a marathon is a major accomplishment for any individual. I treated many clients in recent weeks who were panicking that they may not be able to participate in the marathon. It seemed like the end of the world if they were unable to make the starting line. As far as I am aware, they all made it. Well done to everyone who took part last Sunday. You’ve done yourselves proud.

Two friends of mine made it to the starting line last Saturday when they tied the knot in St. Connell’s Church in Glenties. Former Donegal kit man Joe McCloskey and Collette Gallagher are now Mr. and Mrs. McCloskey. Congratulations to Collette and Joe and may you both have a long and fruitful life together.

Keep the faith!