Gaels vote to propose Bergin as Cats captain
Mark Bergin has been nominated by county champions O'Loughlin Gaels to captain the Kilkenny senior hurlers in 2017.
Bergin was honoured with the prestigious role at a club meeting last night. The 27-year-old won league and All-Ireland medals in 2012, his sole inter-county senior campaign before he was recalled to the set-up last May.
The former minor skipper made his SHC debut in the All-Ireland semi-final replay win over Waterford in August but after being replaced late on, he was an unused substitute for the final defeat to Tipp.
There had been speculation that O'Loughlin Gaels were set to nominate Dicksboro's Cillian Buckley to lead the Cats this year but club officials are confident that Bergin can stake a claim for a regular place in the team.
It's also understood that a contingency plan is in place should a clubman fail to make the team.
Meanwhile, Munster chairman Jerry O'Sullivan has confirmed that the province will run an U-25 hurling championship in the summer - and a similar format could be introduced for football.
With O'Sullivan's native Cork the only county to express an interest in the intermediate competition, they are effectively Munster champions and it throws the future of that grade into some doubt. Ulster don't participate at intermediate level and with Wexford, Galway and Kilkenny the only Leinster teams involved, that leaves just four counties competing for the All-Ireland title.
Munster officials are still gauging interest in the junior football championship but it's not certain at this point in time if all counties will compete. If they don't, O'Sullivan indicated that the U-25 competition is an option for football also.
There has been widespread support for the U-25 hurling concept among the Munster counties and on May 21, Tipperary will take on Cork, with the winners to play Waterford in the provincial semi-final. In the other semi, Limerick will meet Clare and both last-four clashes will serve as curtain-raisers to the senior games involving the respective counties.