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Galway May Threaten To Pull Out Of Leinster Unless Changes Are Made

Galway May Threaten To Pull Out Of Leinster Unless Changes Are Made
By Conor Neville
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Galway spent eleven years in the Munster hurling championship between 1959 and 1969. And if changes aren't made before the 2017 championship, their time in Leinster will have proven even shorter.

Cyril Farrell remarked once that the county were cut off from the rest of hurling community by both 'history and geography'. They are a special case. An elite hurling county marooned among the minnows.

Galway were 'invited' into Leinster in 2009. Well, it is truer to say that then GAA President Nicky Brennan ordered Leinster to invite Galway into the province for the sake of the championship as a whole.

Dublin and Wexford tried to prevent Galway's entry into the championship and were lashed out of it by Brennan. Kilkenny were secure enough and magnanimous enough to vote in favour of Galway's admission.

We certainly feel they have not given due consideration to the overall picture. From a Leinster hurling perspective – with Kilkenny obviously by far the strongest county — right now it’s a very uncompetitive championship. This is an opportunity to help bring some excitement to it.

If Dublin are ambitious enough to reach the top they should be ambitious enough to take in what comes into the province. I think it’s very narrow-minded and it shows a lack of ambition as far as I am concerned on their part.

In the years since, the Leinster counties have been extremely grudging hosts to Galway.


Galway have repeatedly attempted to get their U21s and minors admitted to the championship. The GAA hierarchy haven't intervened and thus the Leinster counties have successfully barred their entry.

Galway have played a grand total of zero home games in the Leinster championship. Tullamore is as far west as any of the elite counties have been prepared to go. O'Connor Park has become a surrogate home ground for the Galway hurlers.

Indeed, in the last 40 years, Galway have only played two home matches in the championship, against Tipperary in 2003 (they lost by a point) and Clare in 2011 (a game they won very easily).


In July, it was reported that the county board had pushed for the introduction of an open draw. The issue of finance cropped up.

The financial contribution from Leinster Council does not adequately reflect the additional and incremental funds generated by the participation of Galway in the Leinster senior championship.


With the Galway convention coming up this week, clubs in Galway are asserting that they have to play hardball to get anything from Leinster.


This year's county champions Sarsfields and Ballinderreen (Noel Lane's club) have tabled a motion for next week's Galway convention calling on the county to pull out of the Leinster championship from 2017 unless changes are made.

Ballinderreen delegate Michael Kelly explained that the motion was being tabled in an effort to force Leinster's hand.

This is a recommendation that we're putting forward in the hope that it will highlight how we are being treated here. Financially and otherwise we have been treated very poorly by Leinster. We have no home games, no representation on the Leinster Council and we only get 3% of the money back from them.

The whole championship is due to be changed next year and we want to be in there with our recommendations to see if we can get anywhere.

We are the last two years talking about this at hurling board level and everything. Plenty of delegates have asked why don't we pull out of Leinster?

It's time to put it one way or the other. If delegates want Galway to pull out let them back this recommendation. There is no use talking about it making threats if you don't carry them out.

Read more: Balls Remembers The Time A Small GAA Ground Held A European Cup Winners Cup Match...

Sean Fahy of Sarsfields said that Galway's chances were being hindered because their minor and U21 sides weren't being admitted to Leinster.

Home games would be very popular if we got them. It might be a bit drastic to say we’ll pull everyone out, but at the same time I don’t know if we are being listened to either. It wouldn’t be new to us either – we were on our own before.

[Irish Examiner]

Fahy is clearly willing to countenance a return to the days when Galway started their season long after everyone else. Officials in Galway were always a touch hesitant about the marriage with Leinster. They voted down the proposal in the early noughties and the proposition only squeezed through at a convention in Athenry in 2008.

But the players were adamantly in favour. David Collins was moved to write to the county board on behalf of the players appealing to them vote through the proposal.

The players feel that the competitive games would provide them with the platform of hard Championship games they require.

The Galway panel are of the view that the 2008 Championship model did little for their aspirations, as they were the only team in the country to go out of the competition after just one loss.

The panel are asking for the support of the rest of the country in the move to Leinster, it will be for the better of hurling and that is what we all strive for. We need to make it happen...

It is not fair on us that we lose one game to Cork in one game and we are out. The quality of games before that is not up to standard.

Former manager Anthony Cunningham also insisted that the old model had done harm to Galway hurling and the move into Leinster had been beneficial.

If you've a very strong team, I think it's okay. But if you've an emerging team and a team you want to develop, they need more matches than one.

Either way, Galway's presence in Leinster is under threat.

Should Galway depart and allow the Leinster championship to return to its former glory?


Read more: Ger Loughnane And Daithi Regan Launch Fierce Attack On Character Of Galway Hurlers


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