Thursday 14 November 2019

Cyril Farrell: 'Super 10' idea is elitist and not in hurling's best interest

27 May 2017; Paul Greville of Westmeath clears ahead of Peter Geraghty of Offaly during the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Westmeath and Offaly at TEG Cusack Park in Mullingar, Co Westmeath. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
27 May 2017; Paul Greville of Westmeath clears ahead of Peter Geraghty of Offaly during the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Westmeath and Offaly at TEG Cusack Park in Mullingar, Co Westmeath. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Cyril Farrell

I was surprised to read yesterday that among the proposals for a revamp of the hurling championship is one which wouldn't allow counties just outside the top 10to compete in the Liam MacCarthy Cup tier.

If it were to be brought in next year; Laois, Carlow, Kerry, Westmeath, Meath and Antrim would compete in Tier 2 with the winners being promoted to the Leinster championship in the following season.

You can argue that none of those six counties have a chance of winning the Leinster championship, let alone the All-Ireland, but that's not the point. Being beaten by better teams is one thing but to be told you're not good enough to even have a go is something else altogether.

Let's take one specific example. Laois goalkeeper Enda Rowland (above) is a first-class performer, yet if this system were introduced he wouldn't even be allowed to play in the top tier. The same goes for plenty of other lads in those six counties too.

The argument that if a county is good enough, it will force its way into the top tier is all very good but then some other county drops down. In all probability, Offaly would be the first to be relegated in Leinster.

So then you're telling the likes of Shane Dooley that he's not good enough for the top flight.

Using that up-and-down system to keep the numbers in the top flight to ten creates a risk that those lower down fall further back.

Surely those counties should be encouraged, rather than discouraged.

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Having five counties in round-robin Leinster and Munster championships is nice and neat but is it right?

I know I'd feel very aggrieved if I was a player from a Leinster county and was precluded from competing in my own provincial championship, especially when guests from across the Shannon are invited.

If this system is to be introduced - and I suspect it will meet with a lot of opposition - the winners of the second-tier competition should be granted access to the All-Ireland race in that year through a preliminary knock-out game.

It's the least they deserve.

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