Tuesday 24 October 2017

Burns admits finding place on calendar for inter-pros 'impossible'

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The head of a committee tasked with trying to breath life into the GAA's inter-provincial competitions has acknowledged that finding an appropriate place on the calendar for the once popular concept may be beyond the Association.

Former Armagh football captain Jarlath Burns led a committee which provided six alternative dates to the existing slot in February to last Saturday's Central Council.

In the end, all six were overlooked and the slots during the break in the leagues next February and early March were kept.

"Everything we discussed as a committee had some advantages, but the disadvantages were obvious too. It was just impossible to find a date," Burns conceded.

The inter-pros were put back on the calendar earlier this year, but there were poor attendances.

The committee, headed by Burns, prioritised dates where club finals in football and hurling could act as curtain raisers for the inter-pros.

They first looked at splitting the club finals on St Patrick's Day and playing the football in Croke Park and the hurling in Semple Stadium. It was acknowledged however, that there may be "serious issues" if the club hurling final was not played in Croke Park.

A suggestion to host them on the evening of St Patrick's Day in a provincial town was also made, but the issue of a small crowd and the attraction of the club finals earlier in the day militated against this.

They also looked at playing the inter-pro finals before the league finals, where again there would be a 'ready-made' crowd. However, player availability due to the number of teams involved in the league play-offs, especially football, ruled that out.

They also presented a case for playing the inter-provincial finals on the eve of the All-Ireland finals in Parnell Park and admitting everyone with an All-Ireland ticket in for free.

The last option was to return to October and play the games in conjunction with provincial club matches. Burns said he expected the issue to be addressed again next year.

Aussie Meredith

new men's coach

hockey

IRELAND has turned to an Australian based in Germany to direct the national men's side, as Andrew Meredith was confirmed as successor to Paul Revington as national coach, WRITES DAVID MEDCALF.

The Aussie was assistant coach to the German side which picked up gold medals at both the Beijing and London Olympics.

His first job in his new role will be to take the Irish to the Champions Challenge in Argentina next month.

Irish Independent

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