Exiles pondering move to Leinster

London look set to compete in next year’s Leinster senior hurling championship following last weekend’s historic Christy Ring Cup success.

Having captured the Nicky Rackard Cup just 12 months ago, the Exiles claimed the second tier title on Saturday courtesy of a 4-18 to 1-17 victory over Wicklow at Croke Park. London now have the option of moving up a level to compete in the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 2013, with Croke Park requiring a final decision by September 30.

The London County Board have already pledged their backing to the team, insisting that the decision will be left up to the players and management.

"We have spoken about it and I think we’re all very keen to go into the Liam MacCarthy. Why not?" said London selector Tom Quaid.

"We may as well strike while the iron is hot and try to progress while the opportunity is there. The lads have worked hard for it so why not give them their shot if they want it? I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t.

Kerry probably wish they had gone up last year. The competition is fierce so it’s not at all easy to get out of the Christy Ring."

Quaid says the London management are likely to request the backing of the County Board to play in a pre-season competition like the Walsh Cup next year, similar to the county’s footballers’ inaugural participation in the FBD League in January.

Increasing numbers of players emigrating to the English capital have contributed significantly to the recent success of the London hurlers. Wing-backs Mick Walsh and Lee Mackey have senior inter-county experience with Cork and Tipperary respectively, while wing-forward Brian Smyth captained Westmeath.

Quaid believes that competing in the Liam MacCarthy Cup is likely to increase the quality and quantity of players moving to London. He said: "I think the Christy Ring would have attracted fellas this year so if someone is thinking about coming over, playing in the Leinster Championship might sway their mind.

"You’d never know who could pop up."