Monday 18 December 2017

Farrell wants St Patrick's Day link for Inter-pros

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

THE future of the inter-provincial championships is assured, according to Ulster Council president Aoghan Farrell.

Almost 3,000 spectators turned out in the Morgan Athletic Grounds to see Ulster topple Munster in the football final and, with Connacht taking on Leinster at Nowlan Park in the hurling decider on Sunday, Farrell sees a window in the calendar for the series to be played on the eve of St Patrick's Day.

"I certainly know now that it will be retained," he said. "There's absolutely no doubt it should be retained. I was always of that view.

"It was dropped for the last two years and there were many within the Association who, for all kinds of reasons, felt it had no role to play.

"But it certainly has. The Railway Cup has a future, it has been saved, but we still have a lot of work to do on the promotion of the event."

Farrell envisions an annual two-day festival of Gaelic games at Croke Park in March, with the All-Ireland club finals on St Patrick's Day preceded by the inter-provincial deciders the previous evening.

"In my opinion the club finals on St Patrick's Day work well and should not be changed. I think that is a very important slot," he said.

"However, there's that whole week leading up to St Patrick's Day, now known as Seachtain na Gaeilge, when governments are putting in huge amounts of money to try and encourage people to come to Ireland.

"I think it would be sad if we brought people into Ireland and we didn't show them our games.

"So I feel that it should be played under lights on the night before St Patrick's Day at Croke Park. I think if we had our hurling and football inter-provincials played under lights on the night before, and the club finals on St Patrick's Day, it would be a fantastic festival of Gaelic games."

Irish Independent

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