Sport Hurling

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Restructuring of NHL will hinder hurling grassroots -- Cummins

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Brendan Cummins has questioned the wisdom of reducing the number of National Hurling League games by two next season.

The weekend decision to increase Division 1 by four teams then split them equally into two groups of six according to their league placings at the end of this year's campaign has not gone down well in several counties.

Even the more successful teams believe they will feel the pinch much more with less exposure for an extended panel.

Technically, a squad is only made up of 26 players but the bigger counties carry well in excess of 30 players in the earlier part of the season and decorated Tipperary goalkeeper Cummins sees the reduction of games as a "problem".

"Less games will be a problem. We blooded an awful lot of players early in the league, fellas got great opportunities and a lot of them took it," he said.

"If you think about Shane Bourke, he scored 4-4 above in Galway, and he has been in hard luck that the forward line has played so well.


"The reason that they are playing so well is that they know that Shane is sitting down the line and waiting to get on, so every team is driven by the fellas from 16 to 30 looking for their place.

"The change to the league might hinder the opportunity those fellas might get. That is the problem. Every panel now has 30.

"Anthony Daly did that during the league and then he was able to bring fellas on in championship games and even with all the injuries he had, he was still able to bring on players who had four or five league games behind them.

"The problem counties have is that they want to get this famous 'panel' together. They need to blood fellas.

"I know from home we had three lads on the team one day -- Michael Whelan and Shane Sweeney played -- and that was a massive thing for our club (Ballybacon-Grange) and south Tipperary.

"Sometimes the GAA don't look at that as being a big thing for clubs. Now those lads might not get a game if there are only five league games, so the grassroots side might suffer in terms of profile.

"Those fellas under the bar might not get the chance to pull themselves up."

Irish Independent

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