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Sports Desk: Hurling plan at odds with GAA tradition

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The Kerryman pushed through the Tommy Murphy Cup for the so-called weaker football counties last year, 12 months earlier than planned, and it proved to be a flop. Now Kelly appears to have put his foot in it again by suggesting that hurlers no longer needed by strong hurling counties could in future declare for their weaker neighbors. Kelly claims that the benefits would be twofold in that it would provide the weaker counties with a considerable boost while also prolonging the intercounty careers of players who can no longer force their way into the stronger counties’ senior team.
The idea has some merit, since there are players in counties like Kilkenny who could help Carlow and players from Cork who would strengthen the Kerry team. But what good would that do? Nothing. Unless the player actually moves clubs.
What would be the point of Kerry using a few players from Cork City who could not make the Cork panel? And how would the Kerry hurlers trying to make the county team feel when they see the county jerseys given out to Cork players? The only ones to benefit would be players who would probably pick up decent traveling expenses.
Kelly is surely going against the basic GAA thinking. It’s the interparish and intercounty rivalry that keeps the GAA strong in Ireland. A leading Irish athletics official once told me that it was not rivalry, but tribalism. And while tribalism may be too strong a word, I can see what he is coming from.
I know from my days as a mentor in a GAA club that hurling can be difficult to promote as parents are often worried about their children getting injured. But I think the GAA has to persevere at promoting hurling at the grassroots level in the “weaker counties” rather than importing players from stronger counties who may be over the hill. The club is the backbone of the GAA and Kelly doesn’t need me to tell him that.

RULE 42 DEBATE RETURNS
The debate about opening Croke Park to other sports is heating up as the county boards hold their annual conventions.
The Cavan County Board is the latest to pass a motion urging the GAA to open Croker while Lansdowne Road is unavailable for the Irish rugby and soccer teams. The Breffnimen are following the lead set by Kerry, Dublin, Clare, Sligo and Wicklow, but it’s not anticipated that many more Ulster counties will follow Cavan’s example.
Significantly, some of the motions next year relate to the temporary opening of Croke Park while Lansdowne Road is being redeveloped. If all the counties in favor of opening Croke Park decide to back this motion, it could only entail a simple majority at Congress next April, whereas a proposal to amend Rule 42 would need a two-thirds majority. Of the counties that have already held their conventions, Limerick is so far the only one to vote against opening Croke Park.

OFFALY, WEXFORD NAME SELECTORS
New Offaly hurling manager John McIntyre has named his two selectors for the year ahead. The former Tipperary player will have Paudge Mulhare and Daithi Regan as part of his management team.
Mulhare from the St. Rynagh’s club, played hurling and football for the Faithful County and was a selector with the Offaly hurlers in their four All-Ireland winning years: 1981, ’85, ’94 and ’98. Regan, from Birr, won an All-Ireland medal with Offaly in 1994 and in recent years has managed clubs sides in Galway and Offaly.
And new Wexford hurling manager Seamus Murphy has also finalized his backroom team. County Secretary Mick Kinsella was already confirmed as a selector and he will be joined by Denis Doyle from Glynn-Barntown and former Wexford player Johnny Murphy from the Crossabeg-Ballymurn club.

GIVEN FOR MAN. UTD.?
Newcastle United’s Irish goalkeeper, Shay Given, could be on his way out of St James’ Park when the transfer window opens in January. Reports say the Donegal man could be moving to Manchester United.
Given, who has been with Newcastle for seven years, has made no secret of his disappointment at Newcastle’s inability to win any honors. And at 28, he must feel that it’s now time that he joined a club that is capable of winning trophies.
Former Scottish star Graeme Souness looked like he was about to turn Newcastle’s fortunes around when he took over from Bobby Robson earlier this year. But in recent games the Newcastle team have left the field to sounds of boos ringing in their ears from the Geordie supporters. Manchester United have not had a top-class keeper since the Dane Peter Schmeichel.
Meanwhile, Given’s international colleague Richard Dunne is set to extend his contract with Manchester City. Dunne, who has begun talks on a new contract, said: “My agent had a meeting with the club and hopefully something will be sorted out soon. I definitely want to stay with City because I have really improved as a player here.”

LONG F1 CALENDAR
The 2005 Formula One season will be longest ever, with 19 rounds in total. The season opens, as usual, in Australia on March 6 and heads to Malaysia and Bahrain before the European seasons begins with the San Marino Grand Prix on April 24. Between the Monaco Grand Prix on May 22 and the Hungarian Grand Prix on Aug. 31, there will be eight races, an unprecedented schedule for the sport’s teams. The Canadian race is on June 12 and the U.S. Grand Prix is seven days later.
After F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone agreed a new deal with the Silverstone track, the British keep their F1 date, but it has been put back a week to July 10 to avoid a clash with the tennis at Wimbledon. The only new event on the F1 calendar will be the Turkish Grand Prix, at a new track 80 kilometers east of Istanbul on Aug. 21. China’s state-of-the start circuit in Shanghai will host the championship’s final race of the year on Oct. 16.

HARRINGTON SAYS TIGER’S BACK
Ireland’s Padraig Harrington reckons that Tiger Woods’s form is coming back and the Tiger is on the prowl once again.
“It looks like Tiger is working on all the right things,” said Harrington, who finished two shots behind Woods in the recent Target World Challenge in Los Angeles. “I’ve got to say looking at him on his home territory earlier this month, he seems to be getting things back together.”
The Target event, which finished Dec. 12, marked Harrington’s 26th runner-up finish as a pro, but he is not too worried. And why should he be? It’s estimated that Harrington has picked up over

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