As a member of the last team to win the All-Ireland SHC without a backdoor, former Wexford star Larry O’Gorman is all for a straight knock-out inter-county championship.
It’s 24 years since Liam Griffin guided the Model County to victory and he was in touch with O’Gorman recently to remind him that teams have been receiving second chances ever since.
Although it appears a qualifier system will be in place for the Liam MacCarthy Cup later this year, O’Gorman has always felt a straight knock-out created a healthier balance between the county and club scene.
“I could never have foreseen a backdoor system for anyone but it creates more games and more volume to their inter-county scene. I think club level has struggled the last number of years because of the backdoor. Your county players are tied up a lot more than they were back in my day. You were released to go back to your clubs.”
O’Gorman senses clubs are just as urgent to get back training as counties bearing in mind championships will be run off quicker this year. In Wexford, it appears the hurling competition could be concluded in less than four weeks.
“It’s very tough on the club players in general but I have been talking to a few lads and they’re mad to get back and on the field of play because they’re going to lose out on a full year if nothing happens. It looks like everything is going to kick off and the hurling will get first priority back in Wexford.
“I would say for definite there are teams already out there training and going hell for leather because they know their season could be over very quick. The more work that is done over the next few weeks, the more it will help you going into the first round of the championship. I say there’s a lot of behind the scenes and behind the doors stuff going on at the present moment.”
The Faythe Harriers man hopes to see more GAA supporters getting behind clubs.
“Everyone loves their county playing. I’ve noticed over the years there’s a lot of people who go and support their county but don’t have clubs behind them. In Wexford anyway there’s a lot of fellas who would rather follow their county than follow club. If the club gets the first priority, the non-club supporters will have to wait until the inter-county starts.”