Saturday 16 December 2017

Laois call for more summer hurling

Laois manager Seamus Plunkett
Laois manager Seamus Plunkett
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

LAOIS hurling manager Seamus 'Cheddar' Plunkett has urged Croke Park's hierarchy to allow developing counties to play more hurling during the summer months.

Plunkett's Laois side are in the midst of a hectic championship schedule that will see them play five weekends in a row but, like many other counties, they could be finished hurling for the season in June.

And, while Plunkett feels that the current round-robin structure in Leinster has its merits, a later start date for the championship might aid developing counties further.

"If your objective is to develop hurling in those counties, well then definitely there is something fundamentally wrong," he said.

"Because, at the end of the day, hurling is a summer game. It's a really quick game. It's a much different game in the summer to what it is in the winter.

"I know from our own minors, who have been hurling into June in the last few years – it made a big difference to them. Their panel has been together much longer.

"If it was structured differently it may very well be a good thing," he added.

"I'll leave it to yourselves to call; you're all very experienced at looking at matches over the years.

"To be playing five Sundays in a row (in the league) then have a small break and play another five Sundays in a row and then expect to perform against Wexford or Galway is going to be a challenge for us. The other side of that is that we're just delighted to be able to play so many games."

Laois and Antrim face off on Sunday to decide who emerges on top from the round-robin series of games, with the winners facing Wexford and the losers taking on Galway.

But Plunkett denies that Wexford – who operated in Division 1B in the spring – are the soft touch of those two sides.

"Look at the challenge matches Wexford have been playing lately and look at the improvement they've been making under Liam Dunne in the last year," he said.

"I think Wexford are a real coming force in hurling. But to be honest, we're not even looking at Wexford or Galway.

"We're just looking at Antrim this weekend. We're just targeting that game next Sunday.

"If we win that, it's Wexford we draw. If we don't, it's Galway we draw.

"We don't really mind which county it is."

Irish Independent

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