Sunday 26 May 2019

'Why not just promote the Christy Ring Cup winners? It's madness'

Kildare boss Joe Quaid. Picture : Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Kildare boss Joe Quaid. Picture : Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

One thing is for certain with Joe Quaid, he'll never sidestep a question or shirk a response. As Kildare boss for the past three seasons, Quaid has been at the coalface of hurling in the lower tiers, but he still cannot get his head around the inequality that exists.

With the hustle and bustle of the redesigned Munster and Leinster SHC round-robins taking centre stage, the Christy Ring Cup is one of many hurling competitions which has been left in the shade. The former Limerick goalkeeper has had enough of the lack of respect shown by the GAA while the lack of coverage, or even an honourable mention on 'The Sunday Game', sticks in his craw.

"Last year we played three matches in 14 days and we were out of the championship on May 6. It's just ridiculous stuff. It's a box-ticking exercise. They're only paying lip service to it. All they care about are the few elite teams," two-time All-Star netminder Quaid says.

"Everyone sees the great Munster Championship, what's wrong with bringing back 'The Monday Game' and covering the Christy Ring and the other competitions there? People don't even know it's going on, it's not even mentioned."

Quaid admits it's "hard to build interest" when today's finals won't be covered live - instead they are streamed live on TG4's YouTube channel with Buff Egan's Snapchat stories the only way which many will know what's happening in Croke Park on a huge day for all involved. GAA HQ will be a hive of activity with three finals down for decision but the Christy Ring Cup winners will have little time to celebrate.

"Whoever wins between ourselves and London, we've to go out a week later and play Antrim to see who goes up to the Joe McDonagh Cup or if they stay up. Why not just promote the Christy Ring winners? It's madness. It's to get stuff out of the way."

missing "Also, I hear that many of the tier one inter-county hurling managers were getting onto the rugby and soccer professionals to see how they cope with weekly games, why didn't they give us a ring? We've been doing it for the last few years and there wasn't a word about it!"

After missing out on a Division 2A league final last year, the 46-year-old acknowledges that it deflated their summer so little stock was placed on the spring campaign, where today's rivals London relegated them.

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Quaid "took a lot of flak" but the wheel has well and truly turned with four consecutive wins sealing their place in the decider. "We took a chance, when London relegated us over in Ruislip, I met their manager after and said, 'We'll see ye in the Christy Ring final'. Thankfully, we made it there," Quaid says.

This year's run has been achieved with all home-grown talent as "40 lads committed from day one". Quaid lauds the talents of the likes of Jack Sheridan - "if Henry Shefflin or Joe Canning got the goals he has gotten in the last few games, people would be raving about them" - as well as other bright prospects like James Burke and skipper Brian Byrne.

"This is the culmination of three years' work. Croke Park is where every fella wants to hurl or manage but while it's great to be there, it's the worst field in the country to lose in."

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