A dozen dual players are affected as Meath's Na Fianna are set to play in All-Ireland camogie and football semi-finals on consecutive days after an appeal to move the football match back by a week was rejected.
Na Fianna won the Meath senior camogie and intermediate football championships this year. Twelve players, including nine starters (among them All-Ireland winner Meath captain Shauna Ennis), were then affected as the Leinster intermediate finals in both codes were held a week apart.
Now they face a shorter gap on the All-Ireland level. Na Fianna's All-Ireland semi-finals are scheduled for the same weekend: they are set to play Tyrone football champions Eglish in Louth on Sat. Dec 2, and either Cork's Glanmire or London's Tir Chonaill Gaels for the camogie fixture on the Sunday.
An appeal to the LGFA that the football semi-final be pushed back a week was rejected.
Club chairman Tom Curran said, "We were told by the LGFA that it was impossible to do because the finals are fixed for the 16-17 [of December] in Croke Park, and they need two weeks to prepare. They said they need a minimum of ten days to prepare for a final. To me, it's a pretty lame excuse."
He also noted, "It's a tremendous achievement for us that we have won in Leinster in both codes with a lot of the same players. We thought the national organisations would then accommodate us. It minimises our chance of winning and it's unfair on the players. We just want an even playing pitch."
"It wouldn't happen with the men's organisation. It wouldn't."
The LGFA said that the game had already been rescheduled from the Saturday to the Sunday and that further adjustment was impossible.
A statement read, "We also have another team involved, so it is not just Na Fianna who are impacted here if the fixture was to be moved out [which would impact the date of the final]. It's simply not feasible to prepare for an All-Ireland final in a week...We strive to ensure there are no major clashes, i.e. they play on separate days on the weekend, as will be the case with the club semi-finals and the Na Fianna example."
They further said that if they win both fixtures Na Fianna has accepted playing both finals on the same weekend, but Curran said they had to agree or risk losing the space in Croke Park.
"How could anyone be happy with that? We just didn't want to give up the date as that would mean the game would [be] likely to be moved out of Croke Park, and that is the dream for our players to play at the venue."