O’Grady details Rebel hurling’s alarming downward spiral

A major investigation by former All-Ireland-winning coach Donal O’Grady for this newspaper has uncovered the shocking evidence behind Cork’s dramatic slide down the hurling rankings.

O’Grady’s three-part investigation details the fall-off in participation among younger children in hurling as well as the poverty of Cork’s challenge at underage level in recent decades.

The 2004 All-Ireland-winning manager discovered almost 40% of boys who win ‘A’ grade hurling titles with their primary schools are effectively lost to hurling after as they attend non-GAA schools.

He also found that the success rate of Cork schools in A-grade post primary hurling competitions since 2006/7 is a paltry 16% – the worst in Munster apart from Kerry.

O’Grady compares Cork’s success rate at minor and U21 level to leading counties in the game and shows not only how poorly Cork have performed, but demonstrates how hard other counties work to succeed and to maintain their progress at those levels. His research shows, for instance, that Kilkenny help to fund hurling in schools outside the county if there are Kilkenny players in those schools who may benefit.

The series begins tomorrow.


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