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Best teams hostages to weather - Herbert

FRUSTRATED Oulart-The Ballagh boss Pat Herbert has slammed the GAA's club calendar for leaving his players "hostages" to the elements that prompted an 11th hour postponement of yesterday's AIB Leinster club hurling semi-final against Ballyhale Shamrocks.

A flooded pitch caused by torrential rain left referee Barry Kelly with no real choice but to call off the game, just 30 minutes before the appointed 2pm throw-in time at Wexford Park.

Local officials had deemed the pitch playable at 11.15. But when Kelly arrived at 12.30 it was "barely playable" and "deteriorated considerably" from then until 1.20, leaving pools of standing water on the surface.

Herbert had no criticism of the referee's decision but his personal preference would have been to play on, with his troops "fired up and ready to go."

However, turning his ire on the GAA's club calendar, he complained: "The best teams in the country, playing in the best competition in the country and playing in the worst conditions of the year - November, December. We are hostages to the weather.

"They are trying to fit so many competitions into a short window and it's not going to work. Hurling certainly shouldn't be played in December and January. Five or six years ago, they made the decision to stop playing National League games at this time of year, so why now play the club games in this quagmire?"

Meanwhile, the Munster club hurling title is finally heading to the GAA's birthplace after Thurles Sarsfields were crowned provincial champions at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

The Tipp champions were pushed all the way by Waterford's De La Salle before finally running out deserving 1-21 to 1-16 winners.

"We've been waiting for this for a very long time. It isn't just a win for the lads in here now, but for all who went before us," proclaimed inspirational captain Padraic Maher.