Wednesday 16 October 2019

'This system could destroy hurling completely' - Ger Loughnane slams new structure

Ger Loughnane has slammed the new hurling structure
Ger Loughnane has slammed the new hurling structure

Ger Loughnane has claimed the new hurling championship structure, passed today at a special congress in Croke Park, could destroy hurling and is a decision "made by the football wing" of Croke Park.

Today's passed motion means that the Munster and Leinster Championships will be played off on a round robin basis for the next three years.

The Central Council motion, which will increase the number of MacCarthy Cup games and introduce a new tier between MacCarthy Cup and Ring Cups as they exist for six counties - Laois, Antrim, Westmeath, Carlow, Meath and Kerry - was carried by 62 per cent of the 153 delegates present.

The move will see an overhaul to the hurling calendar and, writing in today's Irish Daily Star, Loughnane argues that that will be detrimental for the game of hurling.

The Clare native also suggested that the decision was made by the "football wing" of Croke Park in an attempt to maximise the exposure of the Super 8s, which kick off next summer.

"People don't realise that the Leinster hurling championship will be over on June 17, and the Munster championship a week later," writes Loughnane.

"Two big teams in Munster and two big teams in Leinster will be finished with hurling at inter-county level for the summer on June 3.

"That is worse than the system of 40 years ago, and the top three in each province won't fare much better.

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The provincial winners in Leinster and Munster will have to wait six weeks for an All Ireland semi-final. And two of the other four will be finished with hurling for the summer by July 8.

"So, from July 8, 2018 to February, 2019, there would be just three inter-county hurling games on television. THREE in SEVEN months."

Loughnane goes on to argue that during the prime summer months of August and September there would be 19 live gaelic football games on TV with just five hurling, with three of those five swamped in the middle of the Super 8s.

"If you were to give a committee the task of destroying hurling completely then surely this system would be seen as a very clever plan indeed," adds Loughnane.

"They might as well go the whole hog and change the association's name to the GFA. The Gaelic Football Association."

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