Munster GAA chairman Jerry O’Sullivan has confirmed that the province will run an U25 hurling championship in the summer, while a similar format could be introduced for football.
With O’Sullivan’s native Cork the only county to express an interest in maintaining the intermediate competition, they are effectively Munster champions and it throws the future of that grade into some doubt. Ulster do not provide an intermediate representative and, with Wexford, Galway, and Kilkenny the only Leinster teams involved, that leaves just four counties competing for the All-Ireland title.
Munster officials are still gauging interest in the junior football championship, but it’s not certain at this point in time if all will compete. If they don’t, O’Sullivan indicated that the U25 competition is an option for football also.
There has been widespread support for the U25 hurling concept among the Munster counties. On May 21, Tipperary take on Cork, with the winners to play Waterford in the provincial semi-final. In the other semi-final, Limerick will meet Clare. Both last-four clashes will be curtain-raisers to the senior games involving the respective counties.
O’Sullivan revealed: “We haven’t any trophy at the moment, these are just purely as curtain-raisers. The one thing we need for our big match-days are curtain-raisers and to encourage people to come in earlier. These games will be very attractive if they’re treated properly by the counties. If they have their second string teams out, there will be a lot of talent on display.”
It’s envisaged that counties’ U21 management will operate the U25 selections, allowing them to run the rule over U21 players, while also giving fringe senior panellists under the age of 25 a run.
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