Cahill’s swipe at Ulster critics

DINNY CAHILL isn’t taking too kindly to our line of questioning ahead of tomorrow’s oh-so-familiar Ulster senior hurling final with Down.

Cahill’s Antrim also operate in Leinster, in which they are in the second season of a three-year invite, an invite that also sees them guaranteed a place in the top-tier Liam McCarthy Cup.

Several weeks ago they lost to Offaly in extra-time of a cracking Leinster quarter-final, and next Saturday in the All-Ireland MacCarthy Cup series, they will meet the winners of this weekend’s Laois/Carlow clash.

In light of all that comes the question which annoys Cahill — is the focus this week on that Ulster final, or will Antrim be thinking ahead?

“What do you mean? That’s a ridiculous question! It’s a championship just like any other provincial championship, you have to focus on it — that’s a ridiculous question.”

But, you persevere, the reward isn’t the same as for the two other hurling provincial championships, no automatic qualification to an All-Ireland playoff spot?

“That’s a ridiculous way of looking at sport — that’s just the way the championship has been drawn up, but it’s still a provincial final. Cork take the Munster championship seriously, don’t they?”

Well they do, because victory gives the winner an All-Ireland semi-final spot while winning tomorrow will just give Antrim yet another Ulster title, their 50th.

“That’s the system that was put forward to improve hurling in Antrim and in Galway,” counters Cahill.

“But the next important game for Antrim at the moment is the Ulster final. I know there’s no bonus for winning, but this is their local competition up there and they like to finish up on top. The old system would still be in place only for the media and all the criticism about the Ulster champions walking straight into an All-Ireland quarter-final. But I wouldn’t think much of Antrim, Down or Derry if they turned their backs on their own provincial championship now.

“Going into Leinster has to be a good move for Antrim, you have to play better quality opposition if you want to improve your own standards.

“But that doesn’t say that the Ulster championship is diminished in any way. They still love taking part in that, and there’s a good buzz about this game on Sunday.”

There’s reason for Dinny’s defensive attitude: “I don’t like people making little of Ulster hurling, and we get that all the time. Clubs that are looking to go up in the world will make a phone call to a club in Ulster, they’ll be invited up, put up, looked after — then they forget about them again. That’s wrong and really annoys me.

“The Ards Peninsula, from which Down gets most of their players, has only four clubs — how competitive would Kilkenny, Tipperary or Cork be if they had only four or five senior clubs?”

“This is a derby, there will be nothing spared. It would be a real boost for Down if they can knock Antrim off their perch and they have the players to do it.”

More in this section

IE_180_logo
Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

GAATitleGAALogo

Sat, Sept 25

Castlehaven
v
Eire Og

PSFC Round 2

Enniskeane
2pm

Sun, Sept 26

Clyda Rovers
v
Mallow

SAFC Round 2

Glantane
2pm

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.