Retiring Down star Paul Braniff laments plan for Christy Ring Cup

Down star Paul Braniff has announced his retirement from inter-county hurling and says the Hurling 2020 committee’s proposal to take the Christy Ring Cup final out of Croke Park does nothing for the game’s promotion.

Retiring Down star Paul Braniff laments plan for Christy Ring Cup

While the 2020 committee’s report did propose automatic promotion for the winners of the Christy Ring, it also suggested playing the decider, traditionally head at headquarters, before a high-profile Liam McCarthy Cup qualifier.

“It doesn’t do a hell of a lot for what’s known as ‘second tier hurling’,” said Braniff.

“The sounds you hear are they’re trying to promote the game in the lesser counties, but it doesn’t go hand-in-hand with what they’re doing. Their actions don’t go hand-in-hand with what they’re saying.”

While the 32-year-old did concede he could see the logic behind the plans, he believes playing at the Jones Road venue would still hold more allure than the potential of a bigger crowd in a provincial venue.

“When you get to that stage of the year, what every player strives to play for is Croke Park. Now you’re taking that away from counties that deserve to be there as much as the rest.”

The Portaferry man, who will be in action for his club in February’s All-Ireland semi-final against Munster champions Kilmallock, says he can no longer give the commitment required to play for his county. “The guys are training at the minute and I know the effort they’re putting in is phenomenal. I just couldn’t give it.”

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