Quite frankly it is time for the GAA to reorganise the Senior Hurling Championship structure. Over the last two weeks Antrim has been at the receiving end of thrashings by Galway and Waterford.
In today’s game at Walsh Park, Waterford defeated Antrim by 6-18 to 0-15. This game benefited neither Antrim nor Waterford. Waterford experimented with Ken McGrath at full back and Shane O’Sullivan at wing back. I strongly agree with the decision to try Ken McGrath at full back. Waterford could not continue to leak goals at the back. Ken needs time to settle in this position. No worthwhile assessment can be made of Waterford’s performance. Waterford needed a very hard game today. It did not get it. The Deise players may now find it more difficult to raise their performances against stronger opposition. (Below Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh reports on the game for RTE. Included also is an interview with Davy Fitzgerald- Waterford's Manager)
The Munster Senior Hurling championship is the only provincial championship that is competitive. The Leinster Senior Hurling Championship is in urgent need of reform. Antrim and Galway must play in Leinster.
The Leinster Senior Hurling Championship could be seeded. The participating teams would be divided into two groups:
Group A would consist of:Kilkenny, Wexford and Laois. Group B would consist of: Galway, Offaly and Dublin. Both groups would be run on a league basis. The winner of each group would contest the Leinster Final. The second team in each group would go into the qualifiers. The third team in each group would play in the Christy Ring Cup.
Dominic McKinley and Terence 'Sambo' McNaughton have an impossible task at present. Both men live for the game of hurling. Antrim and Down suffer because of their isolated location far removed from the hurling strongholds of the south. Derry is another county, which could make greater progress at hurling. However Gaelic Football is a major obstacle. Each of the remaining six counties in Ulster has a small dedicated band of hurling men who work tirelessly to promote the game.
GAA headquarters must take the bull by the horns. The Ulster Council must be split into the Ulster Hurling Council and the Ulster Football Council. The new Ulster Hurling Council would be provided with funding of €2 million annually to develop hurling in each of the nine counties. Prominent inter county hurlers from the south could be employed by the new Ulster Hurling Council to help develop the game.
Its time to end the lip service. The Ulster Council is a football Council. It has little interest in hurling.
Ulster Hurling enthusiasts must go their own way. Otherwise hurling will die in the Glens and the Ards peninsula.