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Tyrrell & Jacob Push Back On Suggestions That Hurling League Has Become A 'Farce'

Tyrrell & Jacob Push Back On Suggestions That Hurling League Has Become A 'Farce'
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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As the GAA calendar continues to adapt to the modern game, there is one competition that has thrived over the last few years. The Allianz National Football League has gone from strength to strength in recent times, with counties in all divisions putting more and more emphasis on the league.

That is especially true in the lower divisions, where many counties viewed it as their only realistic chance of getting their hands on some silverware. Heading into the final weekend of this year's campaign, everything is still to play for in terms of promotion and relegation in all four tiers.

It's a very different story in the hurling equivalent.

The nature of the makeup of Divisions '1A' and '1B' means there is very little jeopardy at play for the top counties. With at least one county on the bubble of the Liam MacCarthy placed in each division, it makes it very difficult for any of the elite sides to be relegated.

Limerick provided a prime example this year. Despite losing three and drawing one of their opening four fixtures, they secured their place in Division 1A for 2023 by hammering a developing Offaly side yesterday, with only one team going down.

It is hardly an environment that breeds competitiveness, something that is a stark contrast to the Gaelic football leagues.

Has the top tier of the Allianz National Hurling League lost its edge?


This led to a frank conversation on last night's Allianz League Sunday, with Jackie Tyrrell pushing back on Joanne Cantwell's suggestion that the whole conversation had fallen into 'farce'.




Tyrell: I'd say farce is a bit strong, but there are definitely different strategies. Limerick didn't put much emphasis on it, Tipp were probably middle of the road on it.

Cantwell: But if some counties aren't interested in playing it then surely there are some big issues with the competition?

Tyrell: Of course they have an interest in playing in it. Their interest is probably in developing players, building a panel, it's not to win it. Limerick have won it the last couple of years, what good is it going to do them?

Is it going to Cork and give them confidence? Of course it will. Wexford, it will be of huge benefit to them. Then you have the Antrims and different counties that are really developing players.

I think we have to be aware that because the round robin is so demanding and so close after the league, maybe we need to look at the time frame between both and give another week in there?

We can't be talking out of both sides of our mouth, having an outstanding league and then two weeks later be ready to rock into a round robin. We have to be fair to players and management, they have to prepare their team for championship.

With the league being so close to it, obviously they are keeping an eye on it.

It is true that some counties do take the competition more seriously than others, but whether the likes of Limerick and others should be able to take a pass on the league without any genuine risk of relegation is an altogether different conversation.


Ursula Jacob shared the opinion that the criticism of the league is overblown, offering Wexford as an example of a county who seem to be very much targeting the competition.

They need silverware, a county like Wexford is craving that. When they won Leinster back in 2019, the boost it gave to Wexford and they unluckily lost to Tipperary in that semi-final.

If they could reach a league final and possibly win it, it would be a massive morale boost for not only the panel, but the county going into the Leinster championship against Galway in the first round.

I think that sometimes people are maybe too critical of it, because when it comes to it it depends on what is the approach of the management. The likes of Galway have had a huge experimentation period trying out new players and blooding new players.

For Limerick, they probably haven't taken it as serious, but come championship if they rock up and win the Liam MacCarthy Cup again all of us will very much forget about what happened in the league.

However, the feelings of Tyrrell and Jacob seem to go against what is being said by large sections of supporters, who feel something needs to be done in order to make the top tiers of the Allianz National Hurling League a more attractive viewing experience.

SEE ALSO: Spillane 'Feels Sorry' For Fermanagh As Legit Point Waved Wide



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