Tribesmen uncertain over Leinster move

DOUBTS have emerged about Galway’s continued participation in the Leinster hurling championship after a motion to include their minor and U-21 sides was met with a lukewarm response.

Officials from Galway will now meet their counterparts in Leinster to establish their stance on the underage teams from the Tribesmen following their seniors into the provincial championship.

Two years ago Galway GAA was split down the middle on the proposed move to Leinster before it was narrowly decided to try it for three years.

That agreement will end next year but a motion from the Sarsfields club calling for the Galway minor and U-21 teams to join Leinster in 2012 received a surprisingly poor response at the Galway hurling board convention on Wednesday night.

Only 10 people spoke on the issue with five of them, including chairman Joe Byrne, firmly in favour of the minor and U-21 teams going to Leinster, but three delegates were opposed and the other two contributors indifferent to the move.

Sarsfields delegate Tommy Fox said Galway has moved on from the ‘emotive time’ of two years ago and that the minor and U-21s should follow the seniors into Leinster.

He was supported by former Galway senior captain Michael Connolly, who said the move had been a great success for the senior side.

U-21 manager Anthony Cunningham previously stated his desire to go into Leinster but minor boss Mattie Murphy, a delegate at the meeting on Wednesday night, did not address the convention.

However, his fellow Gort delegate, Dermot Flaherty, said that while his club were in favour of the U-21s making the move, they were opposed at minor level as they felt Galway had a lot of success at that grade in recent years, while the earlier start would also interfere with students doing exams.

Veteran Ballinderreen delegate Michael Kelly, a vice-president of Galway hurling board and an opponent of the move to Leinster, questioned if any progress had been made over the past two years.

“We beat Kilkenny in 2001 and 2005 and we weren’t in Leinster then. We weren’t able to beat them last year or this year while we were in Leinster. Yes, there are more games but have we improved, look at the extra cost and nothing to show for it,” said Kelly.

Oranmore/Maree delegate Tony McGrath said the minors and U-21s moving to Leinster would impact on club championships and he felt they should conclude their three-year term with the seniors and then review the situation.

Chairman Joe Byrne said that the best course of action might be to discuss the matter with Leinster officials and revert back to the clubs in due course.

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