Home and away motion Bridge too far, claims Munster Council chief

MUNSTER chairman Sean Walsh warned a motion from a Clare club calling for all club games to be played on a home and away basis would create a serious headache.

The Sixmilebridge motion was unanimously passed at the Clare convention in December and will go before the province in spring.

It was drafted as a direct response to the controversy that erupted when the recent drawn Munster Club SHC final and replay between Na Piarsaigh and Crusheen were staged in Thurles. The showpiece games drew paltry a crowds of 2,893 at the drawn match and 2,486 at the replay, and there was criticism that the ties were not staged at a more neutral-friendly venue like Ennis or the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.

But Walsh, who blasted Limerick club Na Piarsaigh for their refusal in early December to toss a coin for the venue, believes it will create problems if implemented.

“You have to remember the time of year that we are organising these games to be played,” he said.

“We find we are constantly checking on the Friday and Saturday before Munster club games to make sure that pitches are still playable as bad weather can cause us big problems. Trying to find quality pitches and quality venues at the end of the year can be a serious obstacle.

“So if you start bringing in a home and away system, then you’re lessening the options available when organising fixtures. You need as much room to manoeuvre as possible so that if a pitch becomes unavailable at the last minute, we can look elsewhere. That’s why the current situation works whereby venues in neutral counties are available to us.”

Walsh insisted the Munster Council were committed to selecting venues that curtail the travelling distances.

“The Munster Council certainly do not want to be carrying supporters around the province to venues that are a huge distance from where they are.

“That’s never been our policy and it would be foolish in the extreme for us to start doing that now. We want to get as many people as possible attending club matches in the province.

“That way we can maximise our gate receipts and everyone benefits as we can redistribute that money to clubs in the six counties. So when it comes to us selecting venues, we think long and hard about all those factors.”

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