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Rory Gallagher Calls On Ulster Council To Change 'Ridiculous' McKenna Cup Rule

Rory Gallagher Calls On Ulster Council To Change 'Ridiculous' McKenna Cup Rule
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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While some pre-season inter-county competitions have descended into farce in recent times, others have continued to tick along at a very impressive pace.

The McKenna Cup certainly falls into the latter category. Any competition involving the Ulster teams is sure to have a high level of competitiveness, something that is still present in the winter months.

The semi-finals of the tournament took place yesterday, with Derry and Tyrone booking their place in the decider after wins over Down and Cavan respectively. They will now face off in the final on Saturday night.

Rory Gallagher calls for change to McKenna Cup rule

With this being a pre-season competition, most managers use it as an opportunity to have a look at new or fringe members of their panel ahead of the league campaign.

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That is not limited to the starting XV, with many teams also making use of the McKenna Cup rule that allows for unlimited substitutes. In the game between Tyrone and Cavan, the teams would make a combined 16 changes each over the course of the match, something that is sure to affect the flow of the contest and the spectacle on show.

Down would make six subs in their game against Derry, with the reigning Ulster champions making only three as they emerged victorious on penalties.

Speaking to RTÉ after the game, Derry manager Rory Gallagher called on the Ulster Council to remove the rule that allowed unlimited substitutions in the McKenna Cup.

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You see the crowd that comes out if it's [weather] any way middling.

There was a bit of nonsense for years with colleges in it, that devalued it, but now you have nine teams, three groups of three, so you have only two games, but it's our third game in eight days, so we're not complaining.

It's a good preparation going into the national league and it's good when teams take it serious. I disagree with unlimited subs, I think it's slightly ridiculous.

I would urge them (Ulster Council) to remove the extra subs...

It probably felt there was more at stake than a McKenna Cup final.

That's why I wanted these games, I didn't want dud games. I'm not interested in challenge games where they are not being tested.

Having had a historic year in 2022, Derry will be hoping to build on that in the months ahead.

A win over Tyrone next weekend would certainly be an ideal start, with the county getting their NFL Division 2 campaign underway against Limerick on January 28th.

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