Monday 24 October 2016

O'Dowd: League's scheduling is all wrong

Mick O'Dowd
Mick O'Dowd

WITH 10 weeks until they play Wicklow in the Leinster SFC, having squeezed eight games into the last 10 weeks, Meath manager Mick O'Dowd's exasperation with the scheduling of the National League was both clear and easy to understand yesterday.

"I think the fixtures seriously need to be looked at," began O'Dowd who at no stage this spring, played with a full deck on account of sporadic injury. "You have the O'Byrne Cup, Sigerson Cup, under-21FC and seven pretty intensive league games all coming in January, February and March.

"The managing between the games is incredible, to try to have a fit 21 or 22 available. There are also lads doing important exams in the middle of it, playing under-21 on a Wednesday and then league on a Sunday.

"They're talking about changing the rules of the game, they need to have a good look at the fixtures for a start."

Not that he was inclined to attribute Meath's failure to climb out of Division 2 to it's programme.

"I'm not making excuses at all, I'm just stating the facts. You could lament the fact that we were seven up against Laois, but in fairness to them they rallied strong and built momentum and we were the ones that were lucky to get the equaliser in the end.

"In the last 20 minutes against Roscommon in Hyde Park I thought fatigue kicked in with our players. We also lost Stephen Bray for that one too, but we have no excuses we just lost out on the head-to-head.

"Ten weeks. I don't know ... can the Sigerson Cup not be played from October to December? Or the U21 ... I'm not really sure the slot for it. Maybe start the League later and run it in."

O'Dowd added: "Maybe if you had two weeks off. Ten is far too much."

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