Thursday 22 February 2018

Tipperary opt out of McGrath Cup

Tipperary manager Liam Kearns during the Allianz Football League Division 3 Final match between Louth and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Tipperary manager Liam Kearns during the Allianz Football League Division 3 Final match between Louth and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Tipperary'S footballers will not participate in the McGrath Cup after Christmas and will instead be concentrating on the start of the league at the end of January.

Manager Liam Kearns has confirmed that they have opted out of the winter provincial competition to allow them focus on the start of the league, having been promoted to Division Two for the 2018 season.

"We feel it is the best option. The league is starting earlier next year and we will be focusing on that in January.

"It's a big year for Tipperary football after getting promoted and the start of the league is going to come around quickly and we want to be ready for that," said Kearns.

He guided the county to the Division Three crown this year when they defeated Louth by 3-19 to 0-19, having brought Tipperary to their first All-Ireland semi-final in 81 years the previous August.

Tipperary lost by five points to Mayo in that semi-final but having gained promotion to Division Two this spring, they now face into a campaign which includes games against Cork, Cavan, Meath, Clare, Down, Roscommon, and Louth.

Kearns' men will open on January 27 against Cork in a double-header at Páirc Uí Chaoimh with the Rebels playing Kilkenny in hurling the same evening.

"It will be a good way to get the league campaign off and running. It will be a busy campaign after that and with that in mind we have opted out of the McGrath Cup," added Kearns.

The McGrath Cup has been run on a two-pool, round-robin basis for the past couple of seasons since third-level colleges were excluded.

In January, some teams played two games in the space of three days, while Kerry fielded their U-21 team in the competition.

Elsewhere, supporters of Wexford hurling champions St Martin's - who play Cuala in the Leinster club SHC semi-final at Parnell Park on Sunday - are facing a fixture dilemma as the club's senior camogie team are playing in their first provincial final on the same afternoon in Dr Cullen Park.

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