Clare and Tipperary clash over Cusack Park date

Clare and Tipperary are set to clash over the schedule of next year’s Munster senior hurling championship.

A date for the counties’ round three clash in Cusack Park has yet to be confirmed with the match due to take place on either the weekend of May 26 or June 2.

The May 26 weekend is the preference of Clare as it would mean they have a two-week break between their first match, away to Waterford, and second outing at home to Tipperary. They would then have the June Bank Holiday weekend off before facing Limerick away and Cork at home over successive weekends.

Tipperary, however, are seeking a June 2 date as by May 26 they will have already played the two previous weekends, their opener away to Cork on May 12 and the visit of Waterford to Thurles on May 19. They are not down to play in round four but complete their campaign in the final round at home to Limerick on June 16.

The decision will be made by the Munster Council’s competitions control committee but both counties are determined to avoid playing three weekends in a row. In this year’s provincial championships, Galway were the only team to manage a draw playing that tight schedule while Tipperary were one of the teams that suffered playing over four consecutive weekends.

“Our preference would be for June 2 as we don’t want to play three weeks in a row,” said Tipperary chairman John Devane. “We played four weeks in a row this year so we would be keen not to go through something similar again.”

Clare chairman Joe Cooney stated: “We don’t want to play three weeks in a row either. In the interests of player welfare, we would be hoping to avoid it. It’s unfair to do so and if possible, we don’t want to be putting our players through it.”

Meanwhile, Devane said Tipperary will have to change their approach to how they use next April for clubs. New senior hurling manager Liam Sheedy indicated last week he would be against Tipperary arranging as many club championship fixtures in April 2019 as they did this year and Devane appears to concur with him.

“After this year’s championship, I’ve said before the system wasn’t perfect, from Michael Ryan’s point of view, in trying to prepare a team.

“We ended up playing a league final on April 8, championship six weeks later and then trying to get all our rounds of club championship played in between, and it wasn’t satisfactory for team preparations.

“In the coming year, there is a weekend less in April and the Munster championship is a week earlier so it’s definitely going to cause difficulties. We’ve been against this from the start.

“The way the club and county seasons are at the moment are is just not practical and workable.”

Tipperary have reached the last two Division 1 finals only to lose them and there is a suggestion that Sheedy won’t approach the competition with as much determination. Devane said: “Every team wants to go out and win their games and in fairness, Tipperary, under Mick Ryan this year, made a lot of changes from game-to-game and I’m not sure if getting to the final was the plan. The plan was to try out players.

“The fact we have lost the last two league finals is a huge disappointment to us. It’s very difficult to prepare a team for a league and then championship. Liam is coming in with his new team and they’ll be wanting to build confidence for the championship. It’s about the performances, really, in the league.”


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