Déise opt for dual captaincy

WATERFORD have created hurling history by appointing joint-captains for the coming season.

In a unique arrangement, manager Davy Fitzgerald has confirmed that Ken McGrath and Stephen Molumphy will lead the Déise for the 2009 campaign.

The duo take over the role from midfielder Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh, who acted as team captain for the past two years. McGrath, 31, led Waterford in 2001 and 2004 while this will be Molumphy’s first taste of the job.

“Stephen and Ken are two very good leaders,” said Fitzgerald. “This is not to say that one of them won’t end up in some other position but the original thinking behind this is to have one at the back and one at the front.”

It is envisaged Molumphy and McGrath will decide between them if one or both go forward for the pre-match toss and in the event of silverware being secured, both men will collect the trophy on the podium.

Meanwhile, Limerick legend Ciarán Carey has stepped down as manager of the U21 hurlers after one season.

The Patrickswell clubman can no longer give the U21 job his full attention for personal reasons, but he has not ruled out a return in some capacity in the future.

Elsewhere, Etihad Airways, a co-sponsor of the All-Ireland SHC, is proposing that the Interprovincial hurling championship decider be held in the Middle East.

The airline is believed to be awaiting the green light from the Abu Dhabi tourist board. Following a recent meeting of the four provincial council chairmen, it was confirmed yesterday that a decision will be made on the unique offer before the weekend.

The date has still to be decided but, though the Interpros have been held late in the calendar year in recent times, the Etihad proposal calls for a March date for the hurling final which would give little time for the logistics to be finalised.

The National Hurling League begins on February 8 and two rounds will be played before a fortnight’s break. Another two-week gap is incorporated into the calendar for March

But there are other complications to overcome if any trip is to happen in 2009, as the finals of the AIB club championships and Fitzgibbon Cups are also due to be completed in March.

* The McGrath Cup between Cork and UL will be played in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday, January 24 at 7.30pm, and not on Sunday, January 25 as previously decided.

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