Tipperary captain Pádraic Maher accepts neither he or any of his team-mates will be able to play all league and championship games next year because of the condensed schedule.
If Tipperary are to return to the Division 1 final, they will have eight games in nine weeks while their four Munster matches come in as many weeks.
The five-time All Star acknowledges not only the intense run of matches from the end of January to the end of March will mean players will have to take rests but the rush of provincial championship outings from May 20 will compel manager Michael Ryan to utilise more of his panel.
“I’m not going to lie — you want to play every game and that’s the way I’ve always been and I presume alot the lads are as well, but that’s up to Mick and the management team,” Maher told Tipp FM’s Extra Time.
“I’ve no doubt they will use the league to blood a lot of new lads as well but at the same time we still want to come out of the league with a (championship) team in mind.
“At the end of the day, you need to blood more new players because the way the championship is now you’re going to need more than 20 players; you’re going to need the bones of 25 because you’re going to pick up injuries, suspensions, anything could happen.
“It’s vital that you do have a really strong panel. We all want to play every game but I don’t think that’s going to be physically possible.
“We’re going to be playing four weeks in a row and they’re going to be four massive championship matches. Luckily enough, we get to play two of them at home. It’s going to be tough going. We want to be heading into the fifth weekend when we have our bye not relying on anybody else to do us a favour, that we have the work done ourselves and let them fight it out themselves in the last week.
“We want to be building momentum week after week to get the results that we want. It’s the one good thing (of the new format).
“You lose to Cork (this year), there’s a five-week gap and you have to listen to a lot of critical analysis of what happened for a month whereas now you have a chance to move on and concentrate on the next day because you can’t afford to keep looking back.”
After clubs decided on the county championship schedule last week, Maher will be playing with Thurles Sarsfields in April and September. The April divisional dates pose a difficulty for manager Ryan although he refers to them as “a challenge”.
He said: “The big thing we have to plan around now is the workload on our players. We still need to get to the furthest point we possibly can in the league. It’s an early competition, we’re in Division 1A, we know how competitive that is.
“We were in the league final last season, obviously that didn’t go well for us and that’s something we want to turn around as well. It is a target of ours to do as well as we can in the league.
By John Fogarty Irish Examiner