Saturday 24 February 2018

'Gang of eight' to meet Duffy over league row

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Representatives of the eight counties who were originally due to compete in Division 1 of the Allianz Hurling League next season will meet with the GAA's director-general Paraic Duffy in Croke Park tomorrow to discuss their opposition to the changes passed by Central Council.

Kilkenny, Tipperary, Cork, Galway, Waterford, Limerick, Wexford and Dublin were to have played in an eight-team Division 1 in 2012 until proposals from the hurling work group to increase the division to 12 teams and then split it into two groups of six were passed at the August meeting of Central Council.

Most of the eight counties were in Thurles last Wednesday for a meeting to pool their opposition to the change in the league format. They sought a meeting with Duffy and that is now scheduled to go ahead tomorrow at Croke Park.

In the meantime, GAA president Christy Cooney has stressed that there will be no change to the 12-team, two-group Division 1.

The counties are concerned that fewer games played in the league is not in the interests of inter-county hurling and revenues will also take a hammering. In Limerick's case, promotion to Division 1 has been essentially rendered futile, while Wexford's brave fight to avoid relegation has also been in vain.

Wexford and Limerick will join Offaly, Antrim, Laois and Clare in what is essentially Division 2.

Limerick chief executive Mike O'Riordan recently estimated that the cost of the change to his county would be in the region of €100,000 when gate receipts and falling advertising revenues were factored in.

What action is open to the eight counties remains to be seen as it will take a two-thirds majority to reverse the 28-16 vote decision in August. Some counties have floated the idea of withdrawing from the league if the situation is not resolved to their satisfaction.

Irish Independent

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