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Meyler laments Kerry's lack of games

KERRY hurling manager John Meyler is bemoaning the shortage of games available under the new format of the Allianz Hurling League -- he favours extending it into a home-and-away series.

Kerry play Derry at Celtic Park on Sunday and, while they are in third place in Division 2A, just two points behind second-placed Westmeath, they have no chance of making the final against Carlow.

Even if Kerry beat Derry and Westmeath lose to Down, the Midlanders will go through to the final on the head-to-head rule, having beaten Meyler's men by two points in the opening round.

"It has been a very competitive league with some great games. It's good from that viewpoint but we'd like some more games," said Meyler.

"A home-and-away league would provide that. With a small bit of tweaking, it should be possible to make space for the extra games.

"Our programme gave us three away games against Westmeath, Wicklow and Derry and two home games (Carlow, Down), so we were at a bit of a disadvantage from the start.

"That's the way it goes in a five-game league. If we had a double round with home and away games, everyone would be in the same boat.

"There's another problem with a five-game format in that if you lose your first game, you're under pressure.

"Look at what happened to Dublin in Division 1A. They lost their first game and then lost two more by a point each and are in a relegation fight. They haven't gone at all badly but are still in relegation trouble.

"We're trying to build it up layer by layer. We're happy enough with how it's going but obviously the more games you get, the better your chances of making progress."

Kerry begin their defence of the Christy Ring Cup against Wicklow on May 5. Despite winning the title last year, Kerry opted not to enter the Munster championship.

Irish Independent