Cunningham reveals Déise looking to host Munster clash with Rebels

Waterford are seeking to host their first Munster senior hurling championship game in 11 years against Cork next May.

After undertaking an extensive upgrade of Walsh Park, chairman Tom Cunningham revealed to delegates at last night’s county board meeting that they have sent a letter to the Munster Council requesting a home and away arrangement with the other participating counties from 2014.

Renovation work to the city ground is due to be completed in three weeks and will raise the capacity to 17,000. Provincial officials are set to visit Walsh Park today. A decision on the venue for the Waterford and Cork quarter-final is likely to be made by the council on November 21. Walsh Park last hosted a Munster championship tie in 2003 when Kerry offered the opposition.

New Waterford senior hurling manager Derek McGrath has also added to his backroom team for the upcoming campaign. Dublin native Keith Hennessy will come on board as strength and conditioning coach. Mark Cooney (De La Salle) joins as goalkeeping coach.

Treasurer Joe Cleary also informed delegates that the board hope to break even in their 2013 accounts. Team expenses have dropped from €535,000 in 2012 to €480,000 this season. Fundraising rose €25,000 on last year.

Waterford are also backing the 12-team proposal for the 2014 league.

Meanwhile the Football Review Committee (FRC) chairman Eugene McGee has ruled out the possibility of recommending the provincial championships be scrapped. However, he did mention the idea floated by former GAA president Christy Cooney of realigning the provinces.

Addressing the plight of club players will be at the centre of the FRC’s document, with an All-Ireland championship format chiefly along the lines of the current system. “It will be much more restrained than the playing rules changes. We won’t be going to Congress this time around,” he said.

McGee is in favour of maintaining the provincial championships. He stressed a Champions League-style structure would further expose the polarisation within the competition.

“Getting rid of the provincial championships wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of making it. It won’t happen in my time.

“The GPA had a poll of players, which was given little publicity. Players wanted a Champions League-style [format] yet they also wanted the provincial championship retained. Basically, that showed players don’t know what they want. I would personally favour the provincial championships.”

Realigning the provinces so there would be an even number in each is something McGee sees merit in. “It’s a more reasonable proposition.”

McGee has been exercised by the difficulties clubs have had in recent weeks to play games either because of their counties’ extended All-Ireland campaigns or other reasons. “We have some ideas for clubs to get a fairer deal,” he added.


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