Ballyhale players missing out on Miami

Ballyhale Shamrocks’ Joey Holden admits he is getting to grips with the scheduling of their AIB All-Ireland club semi-final with Slaughtneil.

Ballyhale players missing out on Miami

Ballyhale Shamrocks’ Joey Holden admits he is getting to grips with the scheduling of their AIB All-Ireland club semi-final with Slaughtneil.

Holden’s club-mate TJ Reid criticised the decision to move the semi-final to the start of January, deeming it “unfair”.

Holden, Reid, and the other senior county players in the Shamrocks set-up will miss Kilkenny’s team holiday to Miami as a result.

Holden also rues the lack of an opportunity to wind down before Christmas, but is not complaining about being in another All-Ireland semi-final.

“You don’t just pick up the hurls and turn up on the fifth (of January). There’s a good bit of work beforehand,” he said.

“So a couple of weeks beforehand is Christmas, which is usually our time off and our time to relax.

“But as far as we’re concerned, it’s where we want to be. We want to be in an All-Ireland semi-final. Every club wants to get there, and not every club is lucky enough to get there.

“There is a lot of negativity around the changes. But we’re over that. We’re just looking forward to representing our club. We’ll have to make some sacrifices. It’s not ideal. But we’ll make those sacrifices if it means being able to perform on the fifth of January.

You’re leaving partners at home. That’s difficult. In Ireland especially, Christmas time is family time.

Meanwhile, long-serving Offaly hurler Joe Bergin will have talks with management over the coming weeks as he decides on his inter-county future.

The 32-year-old Seir Kieran forward has been part of the Faithful set-up for 13 years and would like to work under new manager Mick Fennelly.

But three weeks after Bergin scored 1-6 in his club’s Leinster intermediate final defeat to Kilkenny’s Tullaroan he isn’t back training yet.

Offaly have secured back-to-back Kehoe Cup wins, but Bergin’s return is on hold after his wife Lorraine gave birth to their first baby, Tom, last Friday. And as Offaly prepare to regroup in 2020, with Christy Ring Cup hurling around the corner, Bergin isn’t certain about his future.

“I’m on the fence, but I hope to be back,” said Bergin.

“I am not training because we only finished three weeks ago with the club. My wife had a baby and I haven’t done any training since. I’d say I’m not too far away, but I will make up my mind shortly.”

The 1998 All-Ireland champions will be in Division 2A of the National Hurling League in 2020. But Fennelly, an eight-time All-Ireland winner with Kilkenny, has come on board and Bergin knows it could bring a massive change in fortunes.

“It’s fresh and exciting,” said Bergin.

“Michael is an iconic figure. In that great Kilkenny team, he was the powerhouse in midfield.

“From a managerial point of view he is very young, but when you look at where he has played, and the managers he would have worked with, the likes of Brian Cody. Himself, Eddie Brennan, and Henry Shefflin come from a good school.

“He is going to be himself and put his own mark on it, but Cody is one of the most successful managers ever.”

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