Hello and welcome to the latest in an eternal series of geography dictating absurd imbalances in the GAA. As last Autumn took hold, the GAA quietly revolutionised the hurling championship and extended their love of a round-robin to the entire senior championship. The Munster and Leinster championships will be played on a league basis this summer, with promotion and relegation involving the second-tier, Joe McDonagh Cup in play, too.
As per usual, the promotion system isn't exactly straightforward. If the winner of the McDonagh Cup is not from Munster, they are promoted directly to the Leinster championship for 2019. If a Munster team (Kerry) win the competition, however, they must play a playoff against the side that finishes bottom of the Munster championship. This appears to be entirely dictated by tradition.
John 'Tweek' Griffin joined us on this week's So-Called Weaker Podcast to talk all things Kerry hurling, having decided to call time on a 15-year career with the Kingdom.
Now involved in the development of hurling in Kerry, Griffin praised the fact that the McDonagh Cup allows Kerry to compete and be competitive at a good level but hit out at the new structure regarding
It's completely unfair. I used to work for the GAA, love the GAA, but it annoys me that people can come to these decisions. I think that no matter who wins the group, the outcome should be the same. I know Fintan, the Kerry manager, wasn't too happy with it. It doesn't make sense.
I look at hurling and football, and at times they are sometimes pitted against eachother, in terms of fixtures and other things. That's something the GAA have to look at, I don't know if that's something that can be fixed by individual county boards. They are our two national sports.
There are people in some areas of Ireland that didn't get a chance to lift a hurl. In New Zealand, every kid got a chance to throw a rugby ball. In Ireland, most kids have got the chance to kick a football, but fewer have got the chance to hurl a hurley.
There's something very wrong with that. We are afraid to say it, but it's a sad reality. While hurling and football should go hand in hand, players at a younger age shouldn't have to pick one sport over the other.
You can listen to the full interview on the podcast.