Conor Whelan’s only focus right now is Galway’s Leinster quarter-final meeting with Westmeath on June 5 – but he would like to see his county get a fairer shake in the province.
Less than a month into their Leinster debut and Kerry already have had two games in Austin Stack Park, while Antrim played a qualifier game in Ballycastle last year.
Admittedly, both were entitled to home fixtures as per the arrangements of the qualifier system. However, plenty of sympathy is now being directed to long-standing Leinster SHC residents Galway who have not yet hosted a game in the competition in Salthill. Them finally receiving a home game in the provincial championship after this their eighth season in it would be long-awaited justice in most Tribe followers’ opinions.
Whelan, one of the finds for Galway in last year’s championship, entrusts Galway officials to fight the good fight in their honour. “That seems to be the debate alright at the moment. I think Kerry have had a championship game in Kerry, Antrim have got a championship game in Antrim and we still haven’t got anything in Galway yet. That’s for the county board to look at; we’re just focusing on Westmeath in two weeks’ time up in Mullingar and hopefully getting a performance there.
“It’s basically that we just show up for the matches and we don’t really have much of a contribution. But, look, Leinster is a very good opportunity and it’s nice to be playing the best teams in Leinster as opposed to coming through a qualifier round.”
Galway coming into the Leinster U21 championship, a proposal rejected by the provincial council, is something Whelan endorses. “I think it’s an idea they could toy with. I’m not really too worried about the Championship structure, I’m only worried about who comes through in Leinster at the moment and trying to get a performance on August 20.
“I think it’s something we’ve all come to terms with, coming in cold in August after training through the summer months with no competitive matches. It can be a positive at the same time because we only have to play two games and we could be All-Ireland champions.
“It’s very difficult to come in cold. We played Limerick last year and I think it took 20 minutes for us to get up to the pace of championship hurling. It can be difficult but it’s something you have to learn to deal with.”
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