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[ # ] Galway and Antrim concerns over new hurling format
October 3rd, 2007

It seems the real issue with the new format is the way Galway and Antrim are handled. Apparently they play each other in a first round game every year, then the winners play a losing Leinster quarter-finalist while the losers play a losing Munster quarter-finalist. That seems to be set in stone each year. As a result it most likely means Galway beat Antrim, Galway play Laois/Dublin/Offaly/Wexford and Antrim play a Munster team. Obviously Antrim are upset because they see it as getting hammered twice every year while Galway are probably thinking they’re still not getting any real tough games.

While Galway and Antrim people complain it’s hard to find a real solution to the hurling setup. Realistically both should play in Leinster given that it’s the weaker of the two big provinces but Galway for one voted down that proposal. The qualifier round robin system was a failure as evidenced by the small crowds and general lack of interest in the games. As I’ve said before the only real fair and balanced solution is a full open draw system but that’s highly unlikely to ever happen. However if we want to keep the provincial setup we can only realisitcally have Leinster and Munster and hence Galway and Antrim need to be adopted into one or the other.

At the end of the day Antrim are a weaker team, along with Laois and Dublin at the moment, and you can’t go re-jigging the system just so they can win a game and we can all feel good. And Galway’s lack of tough competition is only a soft excuse for their failure to do well and translate all that underage talent into All-Ireland wins.

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