Monday 5 December 2016

Michael Fennelly believes league should be 'scrapped' as Ger Aylward suffers cruciate blow

Michael Verney

Published 26/01/2016 | 02:30

Michael Fennelly has called for the “scrapping” of the hurling leagues and given his full backing for club championships concluding within the calendar year. Picture credit: Piaras Ó Mídheach / Sportsfile
Michael Fennelly has called for the “scrapping” of the hurling leagues and given his full backing for club championships concluding within the calendar year. Picture credit: Piaras Ó Mídheach / Sportsfile

Kilkenny ace Michael Fennelly has called for the hurling leagues to be "scrapped" and given his backing for club championships concluding within the calendar year.

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Fennelly believes hurling is now year-round and much like Cats team-mate Richie Hogan, who spoke of his "hatred" for the championship structure last year, he insists immediate change is necessary for its survival.

"Realistically, the league should nearly be scrapped and just have a championship starting in April. Get the 10 or 12 teams to play each other once and then go to the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final," he said.

"At least you'd have a good pre-season, managers want that. It's January and February - not October, November and December as it is right now. It's gone into a full-year game and it's ridiculous.

"Right now, the league has a championship feel to it and lads are trying to peak for February, and March, then again in summer. There are two cycles of peaking and it can't be done."

A three-time All-Ireland club winner with Ballyhale Shamrocks, he appreciates the club players' quandary as they continuously get the short straw. "Clubs should start around March/April and finish the county championships in October, with the provincial and All-Ireland being played off then in December," Fennelly said.

"They start early and mightn't play championship until September. Others play some championship games in April and then they're gone for months.

"It's messy and something has to be done. It's a 12-month game and that's why injuries happen."

Elsewhere, fears were mounting late last night that Ger Aylward (left) will be sidelined for the rest of 2016 with scans revealing that the 2015 All-Star forward had suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury.

Aylward limped off after 19 minutes of Glenmore's All-Ireland JHC semi-final win on Saturday and his absence would be a further setback for Brian Cody's attacking options after Richie Power's shock retirement a week ago.

Irish Independent

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