Wednesday 12 December 2018

'Play All-Ireland hurling final after the football' - Leinster Council CEO proposes schedule change


Leinster Council CEO Michael Reynolds. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster Council CEO Michael Reynolds. Photo: Sportsfile

Martin Breheny and Donnchadh Boyle

Playing the All-Ireland hurling final after the football final should be considered, according to Leinster Council CEO Michael Reynolds.

That would facilitate running the latter stages of the hurling championships later than is the case this year, thereby minimising the impact of football's near dominance from early July.

Only five hurling games will be played after July 8, compared with 15 in football. It has led to complaints from the hurling community that the game is being swamped by football at the most prestigious time of the season.

Reynolds believes that could be counteracted by slightly later scheduling of the hurling championships, culminating in the final being played after the football final.

Big event

"That would leave the hurling final as the last big event of the inter-county season, which would help the game's promotion. Just because we've always played the hurling first is no reason why it shouldn't be changed. We can't have sacred cows anymore," he said.

"We have a feast of hurling up to the first Sunday in July but it tapers off fairly quickly then. Maybe we should look at pushing some of the hurling back a bit to make sure it's not overshadowed from a promotional viewpoint."

This year's hurling final will be played on August 19, with the football final on September 2. The football final was put back by a week due to the Pope's visit, but will be on the last Sunday in August from next year.

Elsewhere, former All-Ireland winning captain Lester Ryan has left the KIlkenny squad.

The Clara man led the Cats to All-Ireland glory in 2014 but has struggled for game time under Brian Cody of late.

With the influx of new players into the squad, Ryan has fallen down the pecking order. Ryan started the win over Offaly in the Leinster SHC round robin series but has since found himself out in the cold and wasn't part of the squad for the county's final round robin game against Wexford.

And it's understood that the four time All-Ireland winner made the decision to step away during the week as the Cats prepare for their Leinster SHC final clash with Galway on July 1.

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