Sport Hurling

Thursday 18 January 2018

Limerick slam '€100k' cost of league split

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Splitting Division 1 of the National Hurling League into two sections will cost Limerick €100,000 in lost revenue, according to a senior Treaty county official.

Limerick secretary Mike O'Riordan said the figure is based on smaller gate receipts than anticipated, a potential drop in advertising, a fall in programme sales and other match-day activities that go with being a 'Division 1B' team.

Central Council approved a decision to form a 12-team Division 1, with the A section containing the top six teams from the final 2011 Division 1 standings (Kilkenny, Dublin, Waterford, Tipperary, Galway and Cork) and the B section containing the last two in Division 1 -- Wexford and Offaly -- and the top four in Division 2: Limerick, Clare, Laois and Antrim.

If the league status had remained as it was, both Limerick and Wexford would have been Division 1 teams, competing against the likes of Kilkenny, Tipperary and Waterford.

O'Riordan described the decision as "ridiculous" and said there was a lot of anger in the county.

Limerick won Division 2 by beating Clare in the final in May, a victory that -- apparently -- propelled them back into Division 1 after relegation 12 months earlier.

O'Riordan said it's as if they have to go and do it all over again. "It's a setback for Limerick," he said. "We're effectively in the second division again, no matter how it is dressed up."

O'Riordan said there is a prospect of communication with other disaffected counties to gauge if there is any common ground they can find to challenge the decision.

"That could happen. Everything is open at the moment," he said.

"With respect to the other teams in Division 1B, we won't be attracting big gates to the Gaelic Grounds. When you add everything together, we put the cost at €100,000.

"We won't have Kilkenny or Tipperary in the Gaelic Grounds and that won't draw the crowds. The raised profile we were anticipating has been taken away.

"I can't imagine the current league sponsors feel they will be getting much value out of this either with the reduction in games.

"I can't understand why the GAA are always intent on trying to reduce the number of inter-county games."

O'Riordan hopes that the decision at the weekend will not influence Donal O'Grady as he contemplates his future as manager.

O'Grady has been adamant that he would only stay 12 months as Limerick manager but in the wake of the defeat to Dublin in the All-Ireland quarter-final it appears he has had a softening in his outlook towards 2012.

Irish Independent

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