Galway minor boss Jeff Lynskey pours cold water over Offaly claims

Galway minor boss Jeff Lynskey rejects Offaly’s contention that the Tribe’s entry into the Leinster U21 championship will impact on them.

Jeff Lynskey: Believes counties need to see the big picture.

Central Council and the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) will propose at Special Congress in Croke Park tomorrow that from next year Galway and an Ulster team or teams be part of the Leinster competition, with the province’s winners facing the Munster champions.

While Cork have drafted an amendment that there be semi-finals between the provincial finalists, Offaly propose that the Ulster sides join Leinster but Galway enter the Munster competition.

Lynskey knows where Offaly are coming from but believes their view is shortsighted.

“You’re looking for a bit of common sense. Offaly’s motion about us going into Munster, we’re not going to make much difference to Offaly hurling. If you look at the last 30 years, I think they’ve got to three finals so they haven’t been doing it anyhow. I don’t think us coming in would make much of a difference.

“If we do go in there we’re only going to add and improve the level of competition. I understand from their point of view — they’re looking at it as we’re a strong county at under-age levels — but I’m looking at it from a wider scheme of things.”

Galway are also hoping the recommendation to construct a round-robin series in the All-Ireland minor hurling championship involving them and the two provincial runners-up to decide two semi-final spots also passes.

“At minor, you’re not weakening any province with the proposal,” said Lynskey.

“You’re strengthening their hand and it’s a better structure than what’s there at the moment. You’re hoping people realise what’s best for hurling and local politics go out the window.”

Lynskey is slightly concerned that some county delegations tomorrow will read too much into Galway’s successes at the start of the month when they claimed the minor and senior double.

“My argument for the last couple of years is the need for more games and we’ve won two minors out of the last three and people are saying, ‘Jees, you’re doing okay as you are’. If we’re in a more competitive environment, that mightn’t happen.

“As I’ve said before, at minor but particularly at U21 level, when you’re asking a manager to prepare a team for a possibly one-off All-Ireland semi-final game it’s not really doing much for the promotion of hurling.

“If Galway were in Leinster you could have the same thing in Munster where there are midweek games and you’re going to attract 4,000 or 5,000 people. We’ve seen the demand there is the games in Munster, the crowds going and the viewership figures. It would only increase the profile of hurling.”

Regarding the senior championship motions whether it’s the Central Council/CCCC idea of provincial round-robin championships, Cork’s Super 8 for hurling proposal or another suggestion, so long as Galway host championship games again Lynskey will be happy.

“Connacht Rugby in recent years has been exposed to big nights in the Sportsgrounds and I’d be envious of that. We have Pearse Stadium there and it’s only filled when there is a Connacht football final or semi-final against Mayo.

“Brian Cody said last year that if you’re going to have Galway in Leinster they should have all their under-age teams there and they should be entitled to home games. Again, it’s about the wider promotion of the game — teams have no problem coming to us to play league games so why is there such a problem for championship?”

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