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brennan's brief Dear GAA, give us a chance in 2021 to do something we couldn't do this year - cheer on our county team

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Kilkenny's Colin Fennelly lifts the Bob O'Keeffe Cup at an empty Croke Park following his side's Leinster Hurling final win

Kilkenny's Colin Fennelly lifts the Bob O'Keeffe Cup at an empty Croke Park following his side's Leinster Hurling final win

SPORTSFILE

Kilkenny's Colin Fennelly lifts the Bob O'Keeffe Cup at an empty Croke Park following his side's Leinster Hurling final win

Between playing big matches at the weekend and organising next year’s calendar, these are busy times for those who work for the GAA. But I wonder, in their haste, are they missing a trick?

Word is, that the GAA are planning for another split-season, with the inter-county fare starting in February and finishing up in July and the clubs having the rest of the year to themselves.

Surely, surely, they should be doing it the other way around. Let the clubs have their championships until May and then carry on playing Leagues for the rest of 2021 – while the inter-county scene runs from June to, say, the October Bank Holiday weekend.

Why? Crowds, of course. There is no expectation that spectators will be allowed at matches in the first three months of the year. But, we are entitled to hope that, as all these promised and promising vaccines come on stream, fans might be allowed at games in the second half of the year.

Now, an 82,300 sell-out at Croke Park is only going to happen in 2022 in my book, but there should be a way, with luck and God’s help, of getting at least 30,000 or 40,000 into Croker late next Autumn.

It really is something that GAA President John Horan, as his three-year term at the helm winds down, ought to consider.

When fans are given the green light to attend sporting contests, people are going to be, as they say, ‘mad for road’. They will want to go to games of all kinds.

But, let’s face it, while members of Borris-Ileigh, Thurles Sarsfields and Eire Og in Nenagh are going to turn up en masse to support Tipperary hurlers when they get the chance, they're hardly going to go to a Tipp county Final that sees Kiladangan play Loughmore-Castleiney.

So, why would you put the Tipperary Final on next October, when you could play it in May and have 15,000 or 20,000 Premier County supporters at an All-Ireland Hurling semi-final or final in October? And that observation goes for every last county in Ireland.

Come on the lads and lassies down Jones Road, give us the best possible chance of doing in 2021 what we couldn’t do this year and cheer on our county.

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