Cillian Buckley: Deal with it, Galway

Kilkenny’s Cillian Buckley has frustrated Galway hurling fans by claiming they can’t expect to play any home games in the Leinster championship.

Cillian Buckley: Deal with it, Galway

The Tribesmen have signalled their intention to consider moving from Leinster to Munster from 2018 due to the refusal of Leinster counties to travel to Galway to play championship games there.

Galway have also been angered by the brick wall that’s been thrown up to their minor and U21 teams entering the eastern championship.

Galway’s annual convention will consider a motion to leave Leinster and throw in their lot with Munster.

Leinster Council chairman John Horan believes the matter can only be resolved at a national level now as counties are “just not going to budge” on the issue.

The GAA presidential candidate said he asked those counties to consider adopting home/away arrangements with Galway but got nowhere. Buckley’s comments appear to sum up the mood within the province.

“It would be strange (playing in Galway), you’re playing a Leinster championship,” said three-time All-Ireland winner Buckley. “The fixtures have actually just come out and you’re looking at them, ‘Is it a home or away game for us?’ To be honest, that is a big enough deal so having to travel to Galway would be a bit of a disadvantage.

“And playing a Leinster championship especially, the fact that they’re in the Leinster championship, they probably should have to play the games in Leinster. Likewise, if they were in a Munster championship. I think that’s fair. Obviously it’s a bit unfortunate that there is no such thing as a Connacht championship for them but I think they have to meet lads halfway, as such.”

Horan echoed the words of GAA director general Paraic Duffy when he admitted the issue probably needs to be dealt with by a higher authority than the Leinster Council. “There is no coming together between the representatives of the Leinster counties and the Galway wish,” said Horan.

“So, in that context, it’s not going to be solved at that level. I think it has to be brought to a national level. I think it has to be addressed by the coming together of Munster and Leinster nationally. Because, as it is, the counties in Leinster — they’re just not going to budge.”

The issue could land at Horan’s door again if he is elected to succeed Aogán Ó Fearghail as GAA president. The Dubliner will battle Robert Frost (Clare), Martin Skelly (Longford), Frank Burke (Galway), and Sean Walsh (Kerry) in the election and rejected the suggestion you often need to lose an election first to win one at the second attempt.

“Somebody said to me did I think I could win it and I said, ‘I’m not running to be beaten and I’m not running to run a second time either’,” he said. “I’m running with the hope that I will actually win it.”

Meanwhile, defender Buckley is aiming for national success in 2017 with a rejuvenated Kilkenny team following this year’s All-Ireland final defeat.

The 24-year-old Dicksboro man agreed that boss Brian Cody, who recently committed to a 19th year in charge, sent out a veiled warning to his players regarding their places immediately after September’s final loss to Tipperary. Cody stated the following morning that “there are players on our panel who haven’t been seen yet who will be top players, and quickly. You can rest assured of that.”

Buckley said: “If ever it was the case, there’s definitely going to be 15 places up for grabs again now. But I think that’s the very reason he said it maybe, to make it clear that it’s starting a clean slate again and you will have to fight for your place but at the same time, yeah, you’d be worried. But also excited that you could be playing beside 14 different players next year. You just hope that you’re one of them.”

Wing-back Buckley admitted that failing to claim a historic three-in-a-row of All-Ireland titles was difficult to accept. “It was definitely something that I thought about afterwards,” he said.

“After the 2009 team that did four-in-a-row, three-in-a-row was almost being forgotten about but it definitely would have been a nice thing to have put into the records, to have done three-in-a-row.”

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