I often wonder if we were starting from scratch what sort of GAA would we organise? 
What would we keep and what would we get rid of? 
While people may vary on what the details might be I think there would be a general consensus that it would be radically different. 
Let’s look at the recent changes to the fixture schedule as evidence of the sort of broken and utterly unworkable system we have at present.
In April we will see only two games of inter county football played - the Division One and Two league final. 
The rational for the change, so those in charge of our games claim, is to leave more room for club fixtures in the month of April. 
Except of course the move is merely window dressing; smoke and mirrors at its smokiest and most reflective. It won’t work and everyone knows it won’t work.
It seems that the move from the GAA to free up April for club football came after some more than gentle nudging from the Club Players Association (CPA). Set up in 2016, the CPA tries to give the humble club player a voice and in each of their three proposed fixture plans April is a free month for club players. 
The GAA have been less than receptive to the CPA in general, but this recent change to fixtures certainly seems like something of a sop to them.
Firstly, I have a lot of respect for what the CPA is trying to do in general terms, but I find all of their fixture plans flawed. A free month in April won’t make life better for the club player. And the GAA know it. 
Here is what recently retired Director General, Pauric Duffy said about it:
“In April, I think you’re going to have a lot of league games in counties, giving a regular series of games. The real issue is, will managers let county players play? And that’s something that every county has to work out for themselves. We can’t enforce that. That will probably be an issue. But the weekends are there exclusively for clubs so it should make a huge difference.”
In that paragraph these are the only words that really matter.
“Will managers let county players play….that’s something that every county has to work out for themselves. We can’t enforce that.”
That’s the crux of the issue and why it can never ever work. Now, before people think I am going to lurch into a criticism of county managers, I’m not. 
They are being set up as the bad guy here through lack of decisive and proper decision making by the GAA. 
Let us look at this issue logically and use Mayo in 2018 as an example.
They play their last competitive game in the league on March 25. Their next competitive game is on May 13 against Galway in the Championship. 
Now, do we think it is realistic to expect Mayo boss, Stephen Rochford, to have no access to his players during weekends for the whole of April? 
That is five Sundays in a row. Would he be able to prepare his team to the optimum level under those circumstances? 
Would playing four or five league games in April be something the Mayo players be willing to do? 
I think we know the answers to those questions.
Not only will a club-only April not be successful because it is unrealistic it is also unworkable across the country because ultimately the control is left with county boards. 
What the GAA in Croke Park has done is advocate change without actually legislating for it. 
They know that the majority of county boards won’t enforce this and as a result the whole change to fixtures is nothing more than an empty gesture.
The whole situation puts county players in a horrible position too. I first played for Fermanagh seniors in the championship in 1999. My last game was in 2007. 
The change in preparation in that time was stark. 
To say things were more professional is an understatement. 
And I dare say in the last ten years that level of professionalism has grown exponentially. 
I genuinely believe that county players, at least here in Fermanagh, want to play for their clubs but while training will be cranked up in April for the county they will be looked to by their clubs to be at their best for the start of the season. 
It is unfair on them.
So what is the answer to this? How do we allow counties to prepare properly yet also afford the club game the respect it deserves? A bit of advice from Sherlock Holmes wouldn’t go amiss:
“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
The impossible in this situation is a fanciful notion that the club game and inter county seasons can be intertwined. They cannot. 
They need to separated and free standing with the latter radically reduced in length. If we are to argue that the club is as important as the county then we need to afford players who are both county players and club players the same time to do both. 
I have argued that this is the only realistic solution for over a decade now and with each passing year the conviction grows stronger.
Now, I don’t want to hear any guff about losing out in exposure due to a shortened inter county season. We wouldn’t. 
But even those arguing that we would need to ask themselves what is more important, exposure for longer or club players stopping playing the game - because that is what is happening. 
April will not be a nirvana for the club player. Instead it will be another false dawn and another damning indictment that the GAA does not really care about them at all.