Graham: 'GAA rule on naming matchday panels early should be changed'

GAA news

Paul Fitzpatrick at Croke Park

Cavan manager Mickey Graham believes the GAA should relax its rules on naming match-day panels in advance.

Speaking at the launch of the Tailteann Cup semi-finals in Croke Park today, Graham agreed that the current Cavan squad is the strongest since he took over four years ago – but having to name the squad for matches a few days in advance is unfair on panellists who miss out, he feels.

“I believe it is [the strongest Cavan panel in four years]. I think strength in depth and the competition for places… even picking a 26-man squad [is difficult]. Before every game, we’ve lost a player or two at training and you can’t replace them which I think is sad because every lad on the squad puts in the same effort and if a lad gets injured on a Friday night, you can’t replace him with a fit lad.

“I think that needs to be looked at too from a GAA point of view. I think you should be allowed to change your 26-man squad right up to an hour beforehand because when I name my squad tomorrow night, there are going to be lads disappointed.

“Whereas if a lad got an injury, you could bring the other player in and he gets a spurt of enthusiasm and belief. Once you name the squad, a lad who doesn’t make it feels a wee bit dejected for a day or two and there’s no hope of getting in if somebody does fall out.

“You could get an illness, you could get Covid. God forbid, if we were to train tomorrow night and lose three or four players to Covid, you are down three or four players. It’s definitely something that I think the GAA need to address too.”

Mayo manager James Horan has also touched on this subject recently. Following his side's win over Kildare last weekend, Horan stated: "We travelled up today. We arrived at Croker with 24 players, we didn't have 26 players."

"We had a player who got sick this morning and couldn't come, and we had a player that got injured on Thursday. The GAA rule is one of the craziest rules that ever existed. We had a game last weekend against Monaghan, and we trained Tuesday and Thursday.

"I have to submit a 26 on Thursday morning by 9am. If anyone gets injured or hurt, or anything after that, you can't add anyone to the panel.

"I'm not sure if people know or understand that, it's one of the stupidest (sic) rules that I've heard of. So we arrived with 24 players today, and in a game like that, that cuts your options.

"So why can't it be a day before, or whenever? To have to do it a couple of days before a game doesn't make any sense, and then people give out about the team not starting that was on the programme. I've to submit a team but we might have a fitness test for four players."