Dublin hurling at war
Ballyboden bitterly opposed to county board’s proposals for new championship schedule
Published 13/01/2012 | 05:00
DUBLIN hurling may be on a roll nationally, but a simmering club-versus-county row is set to erupt at a county board meeting next week.
Local hurling delegates will be asked to vote on a proposed new schedule for the county senior championship.
However, long-time county champions Ballyboden St Enda's are vehemently opposed to it and will be submitting a counter-proposal, alleging that there is "a massive disconnect growing between county players and their clubs."
After carrying out a review of Dublin's club hurling competitions, the county board is putting forward a a schedule that would effectively close down the local championship during the All-Ireland series.
Ballyboden believe that club championship games should continue to be played throughout the summer.
"If Kilkenny, Tipperary and Cork can play (club) championship games through the summer, there is no reason why Dublin can't," said Ballyboden' manager Liam Hogan.
"Dublin hurling is on the crest of a wave at the moment and we all bask in the reflected glory of that success," he added.
"Anthony Daly and the lads deserve massive credit for what they have achieved, but it must be borne in mind that, for every player on the Dublin squad, there are 14 club players who are lying idle during the summer."
Ballyboden, beaten Leinster finalists in 2007, are submitting a proposal that would involve combining the county's current league and championship into one competition, comprising two groups of seven, which would guarantee all teams at least eight matches.
"My own personal preference would be that the weekend after Dublin play in the league or championship would be a weekend for club championship," Hogan said.
Dublin's scheduling problems are exacerbated by having so many dual players, something that was underlined last summer when a handful of the same players lined out in both All-Ireland minor finals.
All-Ireland-winning senior football manager Pat Gilroy has always stressed that he does not want to interfere with club championships and actually believes that club games should continue during inter-county championships.
Many managers get local championship games delayed for fear their inter-county players will get injured.
But Gilroy argues that the same knocks can also be picked up in county training and he has encouraged the principle of club games continuing during the heaviest inter-county season.
Dublin chairman Andy Kettle said that next Monday's meeting of hurling delegates will hear all relevant proposals and agree on a motion which will go before the full county board at the end of the month.
Dublin's Allianz Football League clash with Armagh has been put back 24 hours to allow it become part of an attractive double-header with the county's hurlers and one of their 2012 'Spring Series'.
The All-Ireland football champions were due to play Armagh on Saturday, March 10, but that game will now be played on March 11 and will form the second half of a double-header, with the hurlers playing Cork in the opening game.
That will form the second leg of Dublin's latest 'Spring Series', a promotional tool that proved particularly successful last year.
The first leg will be in Croke Park on February 4, when they take on Kerry in an All-Ireland final rematch as part of a football double-header, which will also feature the Division 2 football clash between Kildare and Tyrone.
The third leg will be on March 24, when the footballers will play Donegal and the Dublin hurlers take on Tipperary.
Last year's inaugural 'Spring Series' also included musical acts who performed between the games and the Dublin County Board is currently in the process of finalising similar entertainment to try to maximise this year's attendances.