Galway reject invite to play in Leinster

GALWAY HURLING BOARD have rejected an invitation from the Leinster Council to participate in their provincial competitions next year.

Instead, the Board which met in Clarinbridge this week, will be pressing for an open draw format for the championship.

“That was the strong point from the meeting,” secretary Phelim Murphy said last evening.

“Fifty-one people were in favour of an open draw, while one was in favour of heading to Leinster. But an open draw will be a difficult assignment. I am sure that Leinster and Munster would not give up their provincial championships too easily.

“Another factor is the hurling development team, with Ger Loughnane and Liam Griffin. They are set to report back with their findings at the end of the year, so they will have to be examined,” said Mr Murphy.

Leinster Council head Nicky Brennan, who was the chief advocate of the idea, was unhappy with the rejection. “I am disappointed. I thought it would have been worthwhile for hurling in Galway to come into Leinster. But, I respect the decision they have made. They have to do what they feel is best for Galway hurling.

“I think everyone would like to see Galway hurling make the break-through in the next couple of years and I am no different. If they feel they can make the break-through without coming into Leinster, then so be it. We are not going to fall out over this. At the end of the day, we are still going to be friends.”

Among many reasons considered and deemed crucial to their refusal to go into Leinster were the fact that Galway would get no home championship games, their minor team would get no second chance unless they reached the provincial final and there was no significant financial reward for the move.

It was also felt by some present that the offer was little more than an attempt to give a shot in the arm to an ailing championship there.

“There are for and against arguments for a move to Leinster, but every hurling club in Galway was represented and this was the outcome,” Mr Murphy said.

Meanwhile, the draws for the Galway SHC quarter-finals were made and are: (A) Athenry v Portumna; (B) Clarenbridge v Turloughmore; (C) Sarsfields v Kilnadeema-Leitrim; (D) Castlegar v Loughrea. In the semi-finals, the winners of (A) meet the winners of (B) and the winners of (C) clash with the winners of (D).

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