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Latest Hurling Stories from the Irish Independent Website

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Special Congress Agrees New Format for the Hurling Championship
September 29th, 2007. [ Comments: none ]

The proposed changes to the hurling championship for 2007 have been passed at a special congress by 55 votes to 17. The new format gets rid of the qualifier groups and with all games in a konckout format it introduces a 2 strikes and you’re out policy. Also no teams will play each other twice unless they meet again in the All-Ireland final. Galway and Antrim will play the first round losers in Munster and Leinster and the loser of those games will end up in a relegation battle. The winners of the Christy Ring cup will get a chance at promotion.

The changes should add a little more spark to the campaign, the qualifier groups clearly weren’t working. And eliminating the possibility of teams meeting twice is definitely a good move. The hurling campaign is a tricky one to get rid because of the small number of teams the uneven provincial lineup so any new campaign is worth a shot. The only system that will really work is a complete open draw system but that will never pass with the provincial bodies.

Galway and Antrim opposed the new changes. Why Galway oppose all these changes is a mystery, they need more cutting edge games to help them but they want to turn down every possibility of it happening. Antrim were apparently concerned about club time but there shouldn’t be any problem with that given there’s no round robin games.

Hurling All Stars Nominations
September 27th, 2007. [ Comments: none ]

The nominations for the hurling all stars are in. The breakdown by county is Kilkenny (11), Limerick (10), Waterford (9), Cork (7), Tipperary (3), Wexford (2), Galway (2) and Laois (1).

Goalkeepers: Damien Fitzhenry (Wexford), Brian Murray (Limerick), Donal Og Cusack (Cork)

Full Backs: Michael Kavanagh (Kilkenny), Noel Hickey (Kilkenny), Jackie Tyrrell (Kilkenny), Seamus Hickey (Limerick), Stephen Lucey (Limerick), Damien Reale (Limerick), Declan Fanning (Tipperary), Aidan Kearney (Waterford), Keith Rossiter (Wexford)

Half Backs: Tommy Walsh (Kilkenny), Tony Browne (Waterford), Ken McGrath (Waterford), Mark Foley (Limerick), Brian Geary (Limerick), Eamon Corcoran (Tipperary), Conor O’Mahoney (Tipperary), Sean Og O’hAilpin (Cork), John Lee (Galway)

Midfield: Michael Walsh (Waterford), James Fitzpatrick (Kilkenny), Derek Lyng (Kilkenny), Tom Kenny (Cork), Jerry O’Connor (Cork), Donal O’Grady (Limerick)

Half Forwards: Ollie Moran (Limerick), Mike Fitzgerald (Limerick), Eoin Larkin (Kilkenny), Martin Comerford (Kilkenny), Stephen Molumphy (Waterford), Dan Shanahan (Waterford), Alan Kerins (Galway), Ben O’Connor (Cork), James Young (Laois)

Full Forwards: Andrew O’Shaughnessy (Limerick), Willie O’Dwyer (Kilkenny), Eddie Brennan (Kilkenny), Henry Shefflin (Kilkenny), Eoin McGrath (Waterford), Seamus Prendergast (Waterford), John Mullane (Waterford), Neil Ronan (Cork), Kieran Murphy (Cork)

Standard of Umpires is Terrible
September 25th, 2007. [ Comments: 2 ]

This is one thing that always drives me mad and I’ve been meaning to post about for ages - the standard of umpiring. A couple of recent clangers brought it back into my mind again. It happens equally in football and hurling and if they can’t tell if a football is wide or not what hope have they of telling if a sliothar is!

The umpires have some major tasks, check for scores and wides and 65’s, keep an eye on goalmouth action for square balls and the like and generally keep an eye on action behind the referee’s back. Why then are umpires not officially trained and sanctioned like the linesman who have very little to do except watch for side line balls which is a fairly easy task. Instead of the referee picking 4 mates of his to do the task we should have 4 fully qualified individuals.

They need good eyesight, be able to work together as a team of 2, and be linked up to the referee. Too often we see both umpires running behind the goals to check a point, complete indecision on 65’s and square balls, both umpires waving a different result etc.

In the Kilkenny Wexford game this year we had Wexford being adwarded a goal that was actually stopped on the goal line - but of course the umpires were back behind the goals so they have no hope of making a correct call from that position. Every club game you go to around the country you’ll see mistakes being made and with all county championships now eaching the deciding stages games get tight and tense and they sure don’t need umpires making a mess of things.

Given the amount of games that are close and the impact a blown umpires call can have it’s unbelieveable that the GAA have never treated this role seriously. Particularly so in hurling with the speed of the game and small size of the sliothar. It’s impossible for a referee to keep track of everything and he needs maximum support from a realiable team of umpires.

County Club Action - September 23rd
September 24th, 2007. [ Comments: none ]

The county championships in the top counties are getting down to quarter and semi final stages and there’s been some finals completed in a few counties.

In Galway champions Loughrea were beaten in the quarter finals by Athenry. Favourites Portumna, now managed by Dinny Cahill, advanced to the semis, along with former greats Castlegar and surpise team Kinvara.

The semi-finalists have also been decided in Tipperary. Favourites Thurles Sarsfields are gone having been beaten by Eire Og Nenagh in a high scoring thriller. Drom Inch beat Clonoulty Rossmore, Loughmore-Castleiney beat Borrisoleigh and Killenaule reached their first semi in 19 years by beating Roscrea.

In Clare Clarecastle, Sixmilebridge, Crusheen and Tulla will be the semi finalists. Clarecastle beat the defending champions Wolfe Tones in their quarter final.

Up North, in Down Ballycran beat Ballygalget to claim the Down title, Mullahoran retained their Cavan title and in Donegal Setanta caused an upset beating Burt to take their first county win in 19 years.

Inter County Season Finished
September 14th, 2007. [ Comments: none ]

So the inter county season has finished and the roll of hour for 2007 is complete.

  • Senior - Kilkenny
  • Under 21 - Galway
  • Minor - Tipperary
  • League - Waterford

It was an exciting season, some great games, an unexpected all ireland pairing but the usual winner. Kilkenny emphasised their dominance again with a hugely impressive campaign where their average winning margin was around 10 points. Waterford did however turn them over in the league final to prove the cats aren’t unbeatable. Unfortunately for the Deise they then ran out of steam in the championship after a hectic schedule unfolded for them. Limerick and Richie Bennis provided the real drama of the season and they’ll surely be looking towards next season with relish although whether they can reproduce that level again is debatable.

In the other grades the Dublin under 21s provided some small ball excitement in the capital on their run to the final and along with the Leinster victory of their minors they’ve provided hope that in the coming years the Dubs may be able to produce a strong senior team capable of doing battle with Kilkenny. Galway deservedly won the under 21 in the end. The sideline cut taking of their young prodigy Joe Canning was a joy to watch. Joe decided not to play with the Galway seniors and and reports are he may do the same again next year. I’m sure Ger Loughnane would love to have him on board but he’s right to take his time, the amount of games that talented guys in that 17-21 group have to play between club/minor/under21/third level and senior is outrageous.

Tipperary put together back to back minor titles to provide the premier county with hope that their return to the senior roll of honour isn’t far away.

All that’s left now is the All Star team to be announced later in the year. Kilkenny, Waterford and Limerick should take most of those with perhaps Damien Fitzhenry of Wexford picking up one aswell.

Now our attention turns to the club scene. The county finals are starting to arrive and we’ll have some great action through that and into the provinical campaigns. The All Ireland champions Ballyhale Shamrocks have to do without their superstar Henry Shefflin as they bid to retain their titles. And if you can’t make it all around the county to catch these gamesTG4 can again be relied on to provide some great action on a Sunday afternoon.

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