Despite all the talk of change, 2020 looks set to be as congested as ever for our club and county footballers. Adam Moynihan examines this year’s schedule and asks if the GAA are any closer to solving the fixtures crisis.
It didn’t take long for the first fixtures fiasco of 2020 to rear its ugly head. On Thursday last, just nine days into the New Year, Donegal manager Declan Bonner confirmed that his team would not be fulfilling their McKenna Cup semi-final against Monaghan due to a clash with the opening round of the Sigerson Cup.
Donegal had 13 players in college action on Sunday – the same day the Monaghan match was due to be played – with Letterkenny IT manager Michael Murphy also tied up, so Bonner and the county board were forced to withdraw from Ulster’s pre-season tournament due to a lack of numbers.
“It's crazy, absolutely crazy,” Bonner said. “Whoever fixed the Sigerson in the middle of this, it is absolutely ridiculous. We have to manage that and be careful of player welfare and we just won't have the numbers to field. We always treat the McKenna Cup with respect, but if you can't put out a team, you can't put out a team.”
It appears as though the colleges aren’t best pleased with this year’s schedule either.
“They start this competition and we’re not open until next week,” UCC manager Billy Morgan said. “We had no preparation whatsoever over Christmas. [The GAA] is becoming an elite association and they are just catering for intercounty, while clubs, third-level, and second-level are all suffering.”
So that’s county and third level ticked off already. What about club? Well, bringing the 2019/20 All-Ireland Club finals forward to January from March has shortened the season but it has done nothing to alleviate the pressure on the teams and players involved over the Christmas period. A 13-month season isn’t much different to a 15-month season when you think about it; if the seasons are overlapping at all then players aren’t getting a break.
The guys involved in the latter stages of these competitions will naturally tell you that they’re delighted to be there, but that doesn’t necessarily make it right.
Looking at Kerry GAA’s draft calendar for 2020 (below), the schedule for Kerry’s club players isn’t much different to last year. That isn’t necessarily a problem in and of itself as the situation in this county is fairly positive when it comes to the staging of competitions. Players are largely pleased with how the County League, Club Championship and County Championship are being run off – the issue in many people’s eyes lies with the district championships.
The 2019 East Kerry Championship concluded on December 15, for example, while things were even more drawn out for the footballers of St Mary’s and Dromid Pearses: their South Kerry Championship final replay was eventually played on January 11.
As you can see in the 2020 calendar, the finals of this year’s district championships have been slated for the end of November, but, as always, much will depend on the success of the various divisional and club teams in the County Championship.
If East Kerry, for instance, have another strong year and advance to the latter stages of the competition, it’s unlikely that any of the teams supplying players to the reigning champions will play O’Donoghue Cup games in October, as is suggested in the calendar.
Similarly, if any of the district’s senior clubs advance to Munster, it will more than likely push the final of the East Kerry Championship back out to December yet again.
If one of the GAA’s new proposals for the intercounty scene gets the green light for 2021, it will supposedly free up a few extra weekends for clubs. Maybe then the district boards will have more wiggle room to get things done in a more timely fashion.
For now, unless genuine commitments are made to play earlier rounds at an earlier stage of the season (similar commitments were made this time last year but we had December football anyway) it appears as though we could be set for another long year of football.
Main Photo: The East Kerry Championship semi-final clash between Spa and Dr Crokes took place on December 1. Pic: Séamus Healy.
Jobs to keep gardeners busy
The weather is glorious at the moment, so I thought I would put together some jobs to keep every gardener busy! Winter bedding is now available – so plant up containers and pots to keep everything cheerful this winter! Conifers such as Goldcrest and Elwoodiis are an excellent choice for a centrepiece, as are Cordylines, […]
The weather is glorious at the moment, so I thought I would put together some jobs to keep every gardener busy!
Winter bedding is now available – so plant up containers and pots to keep everything cheerful this winter! Conifers such as Goldcrest and Elwoodiis are an excellent choice for a centrepiece, as are Cordylines, Phormiums and topiary plants such as Buxus and Bay laurels. Heathers give colour all winter, as do ornamental cabbages. Winter pansies, violas and Batchelor’s buttons are all in stock now, and will provide colour for months, Cyclamen are beautiful – but beware! They do not like getting too wet, so ideally use them in pots and window boxes which do not get too much rain.
Bulbs provide a welcome splash of colour in the early spring, at a time when things are looking grey and grim. Choose from an extensive range – tulips, daffs, crocus, snowdrops – to name but a few. Planting mixtures of different varieties can lead to stunning displays in a pot, for example, plant in layers: tulips at the bottom, then daffs, hyacinth, crocus and anenomes for a long lasting pot of colour. In the garden plant bulbs in informal clusters of uneven numbers to give a natural looking display. Alliums are particularly trendy at the moment, these ornamental onions are available in pinks, white and yellow.
Pruning is one of those jobs which can give immense satisfaction. All old flower heads, the straggly growth of herbaceous plants and branches of unkempt shrubs can go into the compost heap. Pruning equipment can be confusing for the new gardener, so here are a few guidelines: there are two types of secateurs, bypass and anvil. The anvil secateurs is used for dead wood, but the bypass secateurs can be used for live as well as dead wood. The hedge shears are used to prune large shrubs or hedges, but is best for soft or thin growth. Loppers are used to prune trees and thicker branches and have long handles. These also come as anvil or bypass. Some of these are geared, these take the strain and strength needed out of the job, an excellent invention!
As the days get shorter and wetter, moss will start to grow again. Treat paths before they get slippy, with a product such as MossOff. Try to keep fallen leaves off lawns as they contribute to poor growth of grass and strong moss growth. A leafblower makes the job easy – especially a cordless one!
Lawns benefit from a final treatment in the autumn with a product such as an Autumn Lawn Feed and Weed or Viano Recovery from the producers of MO Bacter. These products both treat the roots of the grass, making the plant itself stronger for the winter. They do not cause excessive growth.
Finally, if there are empty beds in your vegetable garden, consider sowing a green manure such as winter rye or red clover. These will prevent weeds from taking over as well as enriching the soil with nitrogen. In the spring they can be cut down and dug into the soil, providing essential organic matter.
Take the stress out of a career change
By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors People change career for a variety of reasons. For some people the desire to change comes from feeling unfulfilled or stressed in a current role or the need for more flexibility and autonomy as circumstances in your personal life evolve. Other people are prompted […]
By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors
People change career for a variety of reasons. For some people the desire to change comes from feeling unfulfilled or stressed in a current role or the need for more flexibility and autonomy as circumstances in your personal life evolve.
Other people are prompted to change because of ambition to develop professionally, the desire for more meaning or purpose, job security or to earn more money.
Whether career change is forced upon you through organisational restructuring or is an active choice you are making, it can bring a mix of emotions. Among them is the fear and a lack of confidence on how to navigate the change effectively and the feeling of overwhelm associated with not knowing where to start. Conversely, it can be a time of great excitement about the possibility of taking on a new (and maybe very different) role or opportunity. Either way, drawing up a career action plan that breaks down the process into manageable tasks will help to ease any stress associated with career change and save you time and energy in the long run.
UNLOCKING YOUR POTENTIAL
Start by thinking about where you are now and where you would like to be – what are your priorities and non-negotiables and what are the practicalities you need to consider? To dig deeper do a self-assessment audit of your transferable skills and competencies, your career values and character strengths. Journal your career change journey by recording anything interesting you find out about yourself or career areas you are interested in. Some people like the idea of drawing up a career vision board as part of the process. Set clear goals and a specific timeline for yourself. As you gain more clarity, write out what your ideal job specification might look like, this will guide your job search. Explore options to up-skill or retrain if you feel this is helpful or necessary. Do a spring clean of your CV so that it reflects you accurately and favourably. Reach out to people in your network who may be able to assist you as you navigate this transition. Think about possible side projects you could work on to explore different areas before taking a big leap. Set up or update your LinkedIn profile, it is an important part of career development. Practice interview skills, you want to be able to perform confidently when they come around. Think about this process as unlocking the potential of your ‘career brand’ so that you and prospective employers have a strong sense of who you are professionally, what you value and what you bring to the workplace. Doing this work will enable you to approach your job search and career change with renewed confidence. It will take some time but it will be worth it!
Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Careers Advisor – For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Jobs to keep gardeners busy
The weather is glorious at the moment, so I thought I would put together some jobs to keep every gardener...
Take the stress out of a career change
By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors People change career for a variety of reasons. For...
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