Corbett a fan of revamped hurling championship format

Former Tipperary star Lar Corbett believes the revamped All-Ireland senior hurling championship will be good for the game — so long as there are no dead rubber contests.

Corbett a fan of revamped hurling championship format

A round-robin format is coming to the provincial competitions for the first time this summer, and Tipperary will play home games in Munster against Cork next May and versus Clare in June.

The two-time All-Ireland winner will be keeping a close eye on the crowds for the home ties as he owns a bar in Thurles.

“It’s going to be very interesting to see, for instance, if the same amount of people will go to a championship match,” he said at the launch of the new TG4 Laochra Gael series in Croke Park.

“We’d have a huge interest, especially running the bar in Thurles. If Tipp and Cork are coming to Thurles you’re going to have a huge crowd. Now, you could get games in Munster that are a dead rubber. If you lose your first three games, your fourth game is a dead rubber. Will you get the same energy at the match? Will you get the same crowds?

“Or will people pick and choose the matches they go to? It’s going to be interesting to see. Everyone is guaranteed four Munster matches, two home and two away, so how it’s going to be very interesting.”

Corbett is confident players and supporters will enjoy the extra spate of championship fixtures during the summer.

“When I started playing in 2001 we beat Clare in the Munster championship and they were gone for the year. So it was over. That’s a very unfair system. If I’m a supporter I want to be able to see Seamie Callanan, Noel McGrath, Bubbles (John O’Dwyer) and these lads playing at their best. Give me four opportunities to see them in Munster at their best.

“They’re out there on show. I don’t think it’s fair just to have one Munster match or one backdoor game. So yeah, have four good, competitive matches.

"I just think it’s better for the game to see these lads more often than not. Because the training and the matches, we all know the ratio doesn’t work and it’s not really fair for the time and effort you’re putting in that’s for sure.

“You’re going to have four good competitive matches so the cream has to rise to the top. I do believe you’re taking the percentage of luck out of it, you’re not taking it out altogether but you’re definitely lowering the percentage. And I prefer that.”

Corbett, who retired from inter-county duty at the end of 2015, doesn’t buy the argument that the pressure of defending the All-Ireland cost Tipperary last year.

The Premier hit a rocky patch during the middle of the season before they pushed Galway all the way in the All-Ireland semi-final.

“I think sometimes you have to look at the facts of it,” he said.

“In the All-Ireland semi-final down here (in Croke Park), Joe Canning got the last puck to win it. Just after that Bubbles got one over in the other wing, near enough the same position on the other side, and it didn’t go over. That’s what it comes down to.

“I don’t think it was that (pressure). Tipp had their chances in the All-Ireland semi-final, we just didn’t take them. You can’t say the whole year was so much pressure and it still only came down to one puck of a ball. Sometimes we go into history a little bit too much.”

The All-Ireland club semi-finals take place later today and the 36-year-old says he hasn’t given up on reaching the pinnacle of the club game with Thurles Sarsfields.

“You always have to believe that you’re good enough. It is a very, very difficult competition to win. The luck value is huge. There’s no room for error, there’s no mistake.

“We have to be very, very straight about this — the years we got bet, we were not good enough on the day. But it is very disappointing that we haven’t made it onto the next step and drove on.”

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