Tuesday 12 December 2017

Duffy pleads for counties to give latest NHL format time to bed in


Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

FOLLOWING yet another change to the format of the Allianz Hurling League, GAA Director-General Paraic Duffy admits that greater stability is required after 15 years of tampering on a regular basis.

However, he believes that it's far more difficult to get the balance right in hurling than football due to the disparity in standards between counties in both codes.

Speaking after the hurling format was changed twice in seven weeks, he said there were particular circumstances which led to Tuesday night's amendment, but the new system should be allowed to bed in.

"Changing the formats of any competition too often is not a good idea and we try to avoid it, but there's no doubt the hurling league has presented a particular problem over the years because of the variation in standards," he said.

"In football, there isn't that much of a gap between the 16 counties in Divisions 1 and 2, but there is in hurling, once you get beyond the top 10 or 12. The difficulty in hurling is how to structure the divisions to make sure that they get the best out of all the counties.

"It's a difficult mix which, I suppose, is why there are calls for change so often. I think the format which we have now agreed on strikes a good balance, but we have to give it a chance to work."

Despite reports that Limerick were considering withdrawing from the 2012 league if it didn't revert to an eight-team Division 1, county chairman Liam Lenihan confirmed they would take their place in Division 1B.

"We're not happy about it, but there's nothing else we can do except press on," he said.

Meanwhile, Tipperary's Benny Dunne has decided to call time on his intercounty days after ten years service with the Premier County.

The 31-year-old Toomevara clubman claimed Liam MacCarthy honours in 2010 having been sent off in the previous year's final loss to Kilkenny. He also captained Tipp for two years.

Irish Independent

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