Tony Ward: Devalue the clubs and pro game is on a slippery slope

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Last night in Limerick and Dublin, the Ulster Bank All Ireland League kicked into gear. It is a much earlier start than times past, but I have no issue with that.

Some may feel it is squeezing players tight in terms of pre-season preparation, but when I played, the start of the season couldn’t come quickly enough, and I suspect the vast majority of club players out there still think upon similar lines.

Add in the fact that in general September offers good firm playing conditions, and an early start is an easy sell.

Looking ahead at the fixtures, the one glaring inadequacy comes in October, when effectively a full month is written off, I assume for the opening rounds of the B&I Cup, a competition for the provinces’ peripheral players.
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