Sport Hurling

Sunday 23 July 2017

O'Grady blasts Division 2 structure

Limerick manager Donal O'Grady. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
Limerick manager Donal O'Grady. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

Limerick boss Donal O'Grady says it's time the GAA faced up to the glaring inequities in their hurling league structures and said that the organisation of some Division 2 games is already making a mockery of the competition.

"We were at one pitch this year where the fourth official didn't even have a board (to signal substitutions)," O'Grady revealed. "We were told to stay in a designated area and there wasn't one (marked)!

"Some of the grounds aren't up to the standard that the GAA themselves require. There's nothing done about it and it keeps going on and on. The first thing they have to do is admit it.

"I don't have the answers but my experience of Division 2 is that there is definitely two divisions within it," added the man who led Cork to 2004 All-Ireland glory and Limerick on an unbeaten run this year to heal the rift caused by last year's split in the county.

"No one wants to go out beating some county by five goals and 22 points -- look at the crowds, the punters turn off."

Ger O'Loughlin, whose Clare side take on Limerick in tomorrow's all-Munster Division 2 decider in Ennis, echoed O'Grady's sentiments.

He said that dramatically one-sided scorelines "don't do the losing teams, or the division, any good. There are imbalances there and the sooner they are addressed the better for hurling."

O'Grady favours returning to a two-group 12-team Division 1 structure.

"The Division 2 champions would play the bottom team in Division 1. If they won they'd go up and if they didn't they'd stay there. At least all the games would be competitive," he said.

"Division 1 was really competitive this year, it went right down to the wire and could have gone any way on the last Sunday and I think if you had two groups of six it would be more equitable."

Brian Cody, whose Kilkenny side face Dublin on Sunday in a bid for a sixth Division 1 title in 10 seasons, also rowed into the debate, saying it is time the GAA stopped tinkering around with NHL structures and settled on a long-term solution.

"We shouldn't be going from no semi-finals to trying out semi-finals," Cody said. "We know what's involved, we know how many weekends are available in the hurling season and clubs should also be central to the decision."

Irish Independent

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