Monday 5 December 2016

'Leinster not a level playing field for Galway'

Published 19/08/2016 | 02:30

Galway legend John Connolly Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Galway legend John Connolly Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Galway legend John Connolly has called for a "level playing field" regarding the Tribesmen's participation in the Leinster hurling championship and feels it is imperative that their minor and U-21 sides join the province immediately.

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The Tribesmen are seven years in the Leinster SHC, winning the Bob O'Keeffe Cup in 2012, but are yet to play on home soil, which is a huge bone of contention in the west considering what they feel they have added to the competition.

"It's unfair, that's the worst part of it. Galway is making a big contribution to Leinster hurling at the moment - the fact that we're not at a level playing field is not fair," said Connolly.

"We were long enough on the hind tit when we were playing. . . we would go into an All-Ireland semi-final. . . we were 12 months without a game and playing in All-Ireland semi-finals was almost impossible when you think of teams and management now that make a big play after just three weeks without a game.

"Galway in Leinster helps the game itself and I cannot see why Leinster wouldn't treat Galway as fair as everyone else - play home and away, and let U-21s and underage enter Leinster.

"What are they afraid of and why aren't they doing that? If they don't, Galway should take it further."

The 1980 All-Ireland winner expressed confidence in the work of new Galway boss Micheál Donoghue and believes this team can end their All-Ireland famine, while he rubbished Ger Loughnane's view that Galway club rivalry was hindering their success.

"We have to (win it) but we've no God-given right either," he said. "Pádraig Harrington says 'if I'm there in the back nine often enough I'll pull it off' so the more often that we're in that situation and that close, we have to get the bounce of the ball or make it happen.

"It's making better men out of them and better hurlers out of them and a better team out of them for what lies ahead.

"We're going in the right direction and if we get one or two younger players, I think they're there, that'll make all the difference."

Irish Independent

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