Oulart-the-Ballagh manager Pat Herbert has called on the GAA to move the All-Ireland senior finals back to August to give the club game a chance.
Playing hurling in the muck and mire of December weather is unfair on clubs who have given their all to reach a provincial final and the only solution is to change the inter-county season.
“To play a Leinster final two weeks before Christmas is a pity,” he said.
“They would get bigger crowds and a better standard of hurling if it was played earlier. The only way they can do it is by moving the All-Ireland final forward into August, simple as that. And that’s not going to happen while the qualifiers are there.
“It’s very unfair on club players who are not on county teams. We would have played our first two championship matches in May and then we didn’t have a county championship match again until August.
“It’s the same in every county, not just with us. So unless they move it forward, they’ll have this every year. December and January should be closed to hurling if at all possible.”
He believes his players have sacrificed enough over their careers to finally claim a Leinster SHC crown but, with last year’s eerily similar championship run, they are taking nothing for granted. After shocking Kilkenny champions James Stephens last year, they were beaten in the final by Offaly’s Coolderry.
When manager Liam Dunne stepped down the club looked outside to find a new man. Herbert was approached but turned it down. Then the players called to his door and he couldn’t say no.
“It was just, that they wanted somebody from the outside and maybe they saw that I has a track record with Toomevara and Ahane.
“They had a management team from within and they were looking for somebody from the outside. I agreed to do it because I had the height of respect for Keith Rossiter, Darren Stamp and Rory Jacob. Those guys have given fantastic service both to Wexford and to Oulart-the-Ballagh.
“Some of them have seven county championship medals. I know they would sacrifice some of them just to get one Leinster medal.”
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