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Hurling Once Again Ignored By An Association Obsessed With One Sport

Hurling Once Again Ignored By An Association Obsessed With One Sport
By Michael McCarthy

The only mention of hurling in today's GAA proposals is that it would move the All-Ireland Final from its traditional berth on the first Sunday of September to the middle of August. GAA Director General Paraic Duffy claims its about condensing the season. In reality, it is to accommodate a massively extended football championship.

What this would mean, propose the GAA, without even an acknowledgment that the idea might be insulting, is that football will now take the last three games of the GAA season, while the hurling final is planted in the middle of the summer.

Football no doubt, has its structural problems. The way the championship is structured is ludicrous and unfair. Today's proposals won't change that, but they at least attempt to address it, and that's great. But we can't forget the GAA operates on a two sport calendar, and no thought whatsoever has been given to what is obviously the poor relation.

The real reason the game is in this mess is because the GAA won't accept the fact that over twenty teams have no chance of winning an All-Ireland. Instead of aggressively pursuing a policy which might offend weaker counties (even though it would ultimately help them), they've decided to basically announce hurling as a lesser sport.

The arguments will no doubt come in that "hurling people" are happy with their lot, and don't need the bureaucrats in Croke Park to change their game around. There's an element of that sure, but it seems to me from reading today's report that hurling hasn't even figured in their thinking.

Richie Hogan complained to Newstalk last year that he didn't have enough games in a season. Kilkenny played four games last year. If they win again this year, they'll have done the same. The best player in the country has complained about the system, even though his team greatly benefits from it. But did that set off alarm bells in Croke Park? Seemingly not.


If the new football Championship structure is accepted by the GAA congress, the football championship will have eight extra games. More importantly, after the provincials finals, and the Qualfiers, football will have fifteen marquee championship games; hurling will have five.

For an association designed to avoid elitism, it seems as though there's a very clear pecking order.

SEE ALSO: Forget Championship Structures - The Spectacle Of Gaelic Football Is Harmed By How It Is Broadcast

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