Restricted panels could cause humiliation

CLONTIBRET manager John McEntee has said that some of the GAA’s rules surrounding the return to play risks “humiliating” players on club squads.

The Crossmaglen man took particular umbrage at the decision to allow just nine substitutes within the pitch enclosure at any one time.

Clontibret travel to Ballybay on Sunday for their Group One Monaghan Championship opener, and McEntee said that he would be rotating his panel members either side of the fence to ensure that nobody feels excluded.

The guidance said that there is no limit to the matchday squad, so you can have more than 30.

We tend to have 31, 32 players,” said McEntee.

It means that six or eight of those guys are going to be outside the wire.

We’re going to try and rotate them so we have nine inside, guys warm up and then go out into the stand and three more come in. The next three warm up and another three come in.

If we didn’t do that then we’re already excluding the guys who are sitting out there.

They’re already dictating for one team to be on one side of the pitch and the other team on the other. You have 100 yards of space roughly, surely to God you could put 15 fellas across that 100 yards and they’ll still be distanced?

If you’re putting down 14 seats for nine subs and five officials, you could easily put down another six or seven and let the players feel part of the thing.

The responsibility for this falls with the club delegate, so they have to ensure everything is done right in the rotation, the distancing. It’s a nightmare.”

The 2002 All-Ireland winner is concerned that the regulations could remain in place, even when the Covid-19 situation is under control.

Over the years the GAA has tried to limit matchdays squads for clubs and counties.

At county level you might say that it’s the cost of gear, hotel accommodation and so on and you can see the reasoning.

At club level there is no rationale for it. They’re local lads, there is no extra cost involved.

You’re trying to differentiate between one club player and another and that’s highly unfair. It’s really insulting on the lads. It could be humiliating.

If clubs do decide that they’re only going with the 24 then the guys outside the pitch might as well not be part of the thing.”

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