Cunningham’s sideline ‘cut’

Carlow 1-9 Galway 2-15
Galway manager Anthony Cunningham has criticised the GAA’s new sideline regulations, which will force selector Tom Helebert into the stands for games.

GAA president Liam O’Neill informed Central Council delegates on Saturday there will be no change to the restriction of five personnel per team at pitchside — manager, one selector, medic and two water/hurley carriers.

A number of delegates highlighted areas of concern about the measure.

However, O’Neill insisted it can work providing there is some remedial work done at grounds to facilitate management and backroom teams in stands.

Cunningham, who regards his management team of Helebert and Mattie Kenny as a unit, described the rule as an unnecessary one.

“At inter-county games in particular there is no hassle on the sideline. There has never been an issue with numbers. I really don’t understand it or why they’ve gone for it.

“Having only one medical guy... we had an instance last year where two guys were seriously injured on the pitch and we had to have three guys on the pitch.

“You’re only allowed two guys now to carry 30 hurleys. We’ve 26 guys on the panel and a lot of guys carry two or three hurleys.

“If they want to make improvements in the game there are an awful lot of other areas they can look at.”

Helebert will be “mic’d up” to communicate with Cunningham and Kenny on the sideline but the Galway manager says it is far from ideal.

“For us it’s a difficulty but it’s the same for every management team. In the heat of Championship come the summer time, it’s going to be very difficult.”

Central Council also overwhelmingly backed the Central Competitions Controls Committee’s proposal for the All-Ireland senior hurling championship from next year. It will now go to March’s Congress as a motion.

If passed, the Championship will reduce in size from 15 to 13 in 2016 and there will be a qualifying group in Leinster featuring Antrim, Carlow, Laois, London and Westmeath with the best two progressing to the provincial quarter-finals.

Carlow manager John Meyler sees merit in the group. “Those teams are level and we’re not at the level of Galway. You have to take it step-by-step incrementally rather than just going up overnight.

“Galway putting out a full team and beating you by 25 points is not good to Galway or anybody.”

Cunningham hopes Galway will be permitted to stage home games in the Leinster championship next year.

County board officials are set to discuss the matter with the Leinster Council next month.

“When it comes around next year, we’ll be in Leinster for five years and it would be fantastic to see Leinster matches in Pearse Stadium.”

Fielding a strong side, Cunningham, without his college or St Thomas players, was reasonably happy with their nine-point win over a young Carlow outfit in Dr Cullen Park yesterday.

With a strong wind at their backs, a Joe Canning penalty goal in the 11th minute helped Galway to a 1-10 to 1-3 lead at half-time, Carlow’s goal coming from Shane Kavanagh.

A ground stroke from Canning set up substitute Damien Hayes to do the same into the Carlow net in the 51st minute, which put them nine ahead.

“It was a typical first day of the year,” said Cunningham. “Carlow have done a bit of work and are going well but for us it blows away the cobwebs a bit and we’ll have to have a big step-up on that display to have a crack at Dublin or UCD next weekend.”

Meyler felt his side could have performed better. “We’ve worked for the last couple of months on our touch and at times we just dropped balls and allowed Galway to get in at us. You can’t afford to do it at this level.”

Scorers for Galway: J Canning 1-7 (1-0 pen, 0-6 frees); D Hayes 1-0; N Healy 0-3; J Grealish 0-2 (1f); E Ward, T Haran, S Moloney 0-1 each.

Scorers for Carlow: S Kavanagh 1-2; M Kavanagh 0-5 (0-3 frees), P Nolan, A Gaule 0-1 each.

GALWAY: F Flannery; J Coen, K Hynes, N Donoghue; D Collins, F Moore, A Harte; A Smith, T Haran; E Ward, J Grealish, P Gordon; N Healy, J Canning, A Callinan.

Subs: D Hayes for Ward (30); D Glennon for Callinan (h-t); I Tannian for Harte (46); S Maloney for Haran (54); P Brehony for Healy (62).

CARLOW: N Roberts; HP O’Byrne, E Nolan, A Corcoran; J O’Hara, R Coady, E Coady; D English, J Kavanagh; S Murphy, S Kavanagh, M Kavanagh; P Nolan, JM Nolan, P Coady.

Subs: A Gaule for Corcoran (31); C Wall for E Coady, Dermot Byrne for P Nolan, D Roberts for JM Nolan (all 61); Derek Byrne for P Coady (inj 67).

Referee: Sean Cleere (Kilkenny).

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