Monday 27 February 2017

Martin Breheny: New contenders liven up club scene

One of the arguments made against the introduction of the provincial and All-Ireland club championships was that they would be monopolised by the traditionally successful clubs, especially in hurling.

It looked that way in the early days. too, when Cork giants Blackrock, Glen Rovers and St Finbarr's won seven of the first nine competitions in the 1970s.

Times changed after that with lots of different winners emerging, while many of the old powers faded. This season is particularly refreshing.

First-time champions will be crowned in Munster (Crusheen from Clare or Limerick's Na Piarsaigh) and Leinster (Oulart-The Ballagh from Wexford or Offaly's Coolderry). And, of the six clubs still remaining in contention for the All-Ireland, only Loughgiel (Antrim) have won the title before.

If only the county scene was that unpredictable.

Irish Independent

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