Gort joins Athenry in opposing move to Leinster

Monday night’s special county convention to determine Galway’s acceptance of participating in the Leinster Hurling Championships is set to be a lengthy meeting.

Top of the agenda are the hurling development proposals for the All Ireland Championship, and the meeting comes after a week in which various counties are deciding if Galway will join the Leinster championship for the next three years.

Already in the county Athenry and Gort have voiced their opposition.

Athenry has announced its intention to propose that Galway and Antrim should be given the option of opting out of the Leinster championship and entering the All-Ireland championship at the quarter-final stage.

A statement from the club says: “ The impression given was that Galway could face exclusion from next year’s All-Ireland championship if they reject the proposed change to Leinster. So Galway have to accept proposals put forward by a committee that have ignored their preference for other proposals.”

The club believes the reasons given forGalway joining Leinster are not convincing, especially the claims that playing in the Leinster Championship would give Galway more games and increase their prospects of winning an All-Ireland title.

“ If Galway opt to go to Leinster they will join teams like Waterford, Limerick, Clare, Offaly and Wexford that have got plenty of games, over the past decade, but have failed to win an All-Ireland title. The facts are that extra games proved very costly for Waterford and Clare in years that they had strong teams and were tipped to be successful.

“Getting more games is not an issue and has not been a factor in Kilkenny and Cork’s victories over the past decade between them winning nine out of 10 All-Irelands.

On Tuesday Gort added their opposition to the move into Leinster.

Opposition to Galway's participation is also opposed by other counties. Dublin's opposition has been followed by Wexford who had their monthly meeting on Monday. Their opposition to Galway’s inclusion was overwhelming. When the proposal was put forward as part of a general discussion last year, the only Leinster counties to openly support the idea were Kilkenny and Longford.

Heverin adds his name to the list

As Galway hurling debates its future in the All-Ireland Championship, the race for the manager’s job is also gathering momentum.

It is now certain Ger Loughane will face opposition from at least two nominees - Portumna’s Jimmy Heverin and former Offaly boss and Galway native Michael Bond. Both men have assembled strong back-up teams in a bid to oust Loughane from the post when it comes up for ratification at next month’s county board meeting.

Heverin has strong credentials, having steered Portumna to a second All-Ireland club title in three years in March. He has attracted former Galway star Anthony Cunningham to join his team if he gets the job.

Offaly’s 1998 All-Ireland winning manager, Michael Bond, has also stated his interest in the job.

Bond, who led Offaly to an All-Ireland title in 1998, also has assembled a strong back-up team in Galway greats Joe Cooney, Steve Mahon, and Michael Coleman.


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