Monday 23 April 2018

Football snubs an idea that's working well for hurling

GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghaíl was a keen observer. Photo: Sportsfile
GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghaíl was a keen observer. Photo: Sportsfile newsdesk

The main small-ball focus will be very much on Wexford v Kilkenny on Saturday evening but, earlier in the day, Croke Park hosts an appetising triple-decker, which perfectly illustrates the different attitude that prevails in hurling and football.

Carlow v Antrim (Christy Ring), Armagh v Derry (Nicky Rackard) and Leitrim v Warwickshire (Lory Meagher) is the three-way line-up in finals of hurling competitions that are graded according to standards.

It works well and the delighted winners will return home with trophies, happy in the knowledge that they are the best in their particular band.

In the case of Carlow and Antrim, who have already had three close battles in the Allianz League (Division 2A) and Ring Cup this year, the winners will get a chance in the Liam MacCarthy Cup tier, playing Laois in a preliminary qualifier later in the month.


The hurling fraternity have no difficulty slotting into various grades for championship purposes, whereas any suggestion of a similar system in football is always met with fierce opposition.

Even when the proposal contains a proviso that all counties be allowed to play in their provincial championships, there's still no appetite for a secondary competition among less successful counties.

Instead, they head for the qualifiers where the majority will make a quick exit.

It's difficult to understand why the attitude is so different in hurling and football. Granted, the variation in standards is steeper in hurling but there's quite a divide in football too, even if counties at the lower end of the market don't want to recognise it.

By the way, full marks to TG4, who will show all three hurling finals 'live' on Saturday.

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport