Thursday 19 April 2018

Hurling league revamp a disaster for aspiring sides -- O'Grady

Jackie Cahill

LIMERICK midfielder Donal O'Grady has slammed the National Hurling League revamp as "a disaster".

The Shannonsiders gained promotion to Division 1 by winning the Division 2 crown this year but have now been told that they will operate in Division 1B of next year's competition.

O'Grady believes that Limerick have gained no reward for their league success this year and insists that Division 1B is merely Division 2 with a different name.

"It's a disaster, not just from Limerick's point of view but also for Wexford, Clare and Offaly," O'Grady said. "It's not giving the teams that are trying to catch up a fair chance of catching up.

"You have an elite bracket, and rightly so with Tipp, Kilkenny and a few more, but we need to be playing them to get closer."

O'Grady, who enjoyed a solid National League and championship campaign as Limerick emerged as a force under the guidance of the player's namesake, can't believe that the Treaty men have been left to slog it out with Wexford, Offaly, Clare, Laois and Antrim next year.

"Wexford had been written off in Division 1 but drew with Tipp and beat Cork to stay up on the last day," he said. "That was a great boost for them but now here they are finding themselves down effectively playing in Division 2 -- 1B is just another name for it.

"Limerick have had enough hassle over the last few years. We're on the way back and having won Division 2, we were expecting competitive matches in Division 1 and then to build for the future. Then you're given a sucker punch like this.

"Even from a financial point of view, wouldn't Limerick love to have Kilkenny and Tipp coming to the Gaelic Grounds? You would get great crowds and competitive matches.

"People don't realise the advantage for a developing team playing against the big four or five."

Irish Independent

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