Wednesday 17 January 2018

Railway Cup series set to be put back on track

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

DESPITE calls from several senior figures for their abandonment, the GAA's inter-provincial championships are set for a dramatic reprieve.

Tomorrow night's pre-Congress meeting of Central Council in Mullingar is expected to back their retention, ending months of speculation that the 84-year-old competitions would be scrubbed from the fixtures' calendar.

The inter-provincials, formerly known as the Railway Cups, were not played last year, nor are they included on this year's schedule. And when it was suggested at a meeting of the GAA's high-powered Management Committee last month that no funding should be made available for the competitions, it was seen as a direct attempt to influence Central Council's decision.

However, there has been a swing towards retaining the inter-pros in recent weeks. Significantly, both the Ulster and Leinster Council Management Committees voted in support, and it's expected that all nine Ulster counties will also back the competitions, urging that they be vigorously promoted.

There are varying levels of support in other provinces but advocates for the inter-pros believe that they have enough support to ensure retention if it goes to a vote tomorrow night.

Clare have submitted motions to Central Council calling for the establishment of a task force to promote the inter-pros and also for an announcement of dates and venues for this year's competitions.

Former Munster Council chairman Noel Walsh argued: "These are the only genuine representative honour a county player can achieve.

"We should be showing flair and imagination in promoting the competitions, rather than thinking up reasons to kill them off. Besides, the players want them retained so that should be the end of the argument."

Last held in 2009, Ulster (football) and Leinster (hurling) are the reigning champions.

Irish Independent

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