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Paul Flynn Responds After Donal Óg Cusack Dig At Tailteann Cup

Paul Flynn Responds After Donal Óg Cusack Dig At Tailteann Cup
By PJ Browne Updated
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At the beginning of his Hurling Nation address on Morning Ireland's early sports bulletin on Friday, Donal Óg Cusack aimed a jab at the Tailteann Cup.

The football championship's second tier competition gets underway this weekend with its first round of matches in the group stage.

"The hurling championship gets some room to breathe this week," said the former Cork hurler.

"The GAA schedule has two provincial football finals and the start of the Tailteann Cup, which if you haven't heard of it, is a sort of Gaelic football Grand National for disappointed also-rans."

8 May 2023; Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Larry McCarthy, centre, with players from the competing counties during the 2023 Tailteann Cup launch at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

It was a jibe which must have left the hurlers who populate the Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard, and Lory Meagher cups wondering what Cusack thinks of their competitions. The lower tier hurling competitions did get a reference from Cusack "now we have some space", though it was restricted to simply mentioning that there are fixtures on this weekend.

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On the sports bulletin which followed an hour later, ex-Dublin footballer Paul Flynn - a former CEO of the GPA - responded to Cusack.

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"Regardless of what Dónal Óg might have to say about football," said Flynn, "the Tailteann Cup – similar to the Ring, Rackard, Meagher, McDonagh competitions in hurling – are really important to offer developing counties the opportunity to compete in a competition that they can win.

"But as important as that, is to allow them to evolve as a group and every team needs that, they won't evolve playing in the Sam Maguire and getting beaten convincingly week-in, week-out. So, he is well aware of the importance of these competitions to developing counties, both in hurling and in football."

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At the weekend, during a discussion about the lack of Munster Hurling Championship games on free-to-air television, Cusack's fellow pundit Jackie Tyrrell had a complaint about the coverage which the Tailteann Cup receives.

"The Tailteann Cup final was on [RTÉ] last year. We're struggling to get our main [hurling] games on but yet the Tailteann Cup can take precedence," said the nine-time All-Ireland winner with Kilkenny.

"The Joe McDonagh is an outstanding competition. There's not even a hope of that getting on mainstream [TV] really when you look that we can't get our main games on. That's what the frustration is."

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Last year's Joe McDonagh Cup decider - a sensational game between Antrim and Kerry - was shown live on RTÉ prior to the Leinster hurling final.

GAA Explainer: How The 2023 Tailteann Cup Will Be Different To Last Year

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