Tuesday 16 January 2018

O'Brien vents fury at Ring date

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

AFTER leading the Garden County to within 70 minutes of Division 2 hurling, Wicklow manager Casey O'Brien has lashed out at the early timing of this year's Christy Ring Cup.

His side will play Derry in the Division 3A hurling league final on April 17, but both teams will be straight into action in the hurling championship's second tier a week later.

"We both have opening-round games just six days after our league final, which seems unfair," O'Brien (above) said. "I don't understand why the Christy Ring has to start so early. It's as if the GAA just want to get it out of the way as soon as possible."

Given the significance of the Division 3A final, it is Wicklow's immediate focus and they were boosted last night by the return to training of dual star Leighton Glynn, who has only played with the footballers so far this season.

A suspension that only applies to him in football meant fellow dual star Stephen Kelly was able to line out for their hurlers last weekend and he too will be available for their league decider.

And O'Brien is hoping speculation that the GAA may yet tinker with the hurling league structure next season is wide of the mark.

"When I was playing for the county we won Division 3 twice in the '90s but both times the GAA revamped the leagues and we never went up," he explained.

"We ended up playing Division 2 but, because they had created Division 1A and 1B, it was still the third tier."

Between them and hurling's second tier proper now stand Derry.

"We beat them by just a point already this year, but Derry have beaten us before in a league final and in two All-Ireland B finals so we know what we're up against," O'Brien said.

Irish Independent

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