Munster secretary Simon Moroney has echoed concerns that hurling will lose out its share of “the marketplace” as a result of new championship changes announced last weekend.
However, he accepts the “substantial majority” of Congress delegates backed the changes.
While Moroney said that there is a strong chance the Munster senior football and hurling finals will be pushed into June from next year, he doesn’t foresee the hurling semi-finals being played on the same day or over the same weekend.
In his annual report, the Clare native articulated his worries about the impact the proposals would have on hurling — “I fear that taking some key hurling championship games away from the traditional times may diminish the relative importance of hurling.”
His views have been shared by Ger Loughnane, who has highlighted that football championship matches could outnumber hurling by a ratio of almost four to one in July and August.
Anthony Daly has also aired his concerns, while Tomás Mulcahy tweeted on Monday: “Congress and super 8s — not one mention of hurling and if hurling final is played on St. Stephen’s Day no one seems to care.”
Speaking yesterday, Moroney said: “I expressed the opinion in the annual report that hurling is out of the marketplace during the month of August and so on. That’s the way my views were expressed.
"It was a very substantial majority that endorsed the proposals and obviously we’re a democratic organisation, and that’s the way we work.
"Some of the decisions we might disagree with but that’s what it is and we accept that.” He admitted that the long-standing July dates for the provincial deciders will be reviewed.
“The scheduling itself will start with the Central Competitions Control Committee because you work your way back and I believe there was an indication about the scheduling of the two All-Ireland finals (back-to-back weekends at the end of August).
“We’ll work our way back from that. The replay situation means we won’t have to make provisions for them, other than the finals. It is possibly they will be then, yes. That’s the way it is now for three years, ’18, ’19 and ’20.”
The prospect of the Munster hurling semi-finals being played over the same weekend, which is the intention for the All-Ireland football semi-finals, is not likely, Moroney remarked.
“I wouldn’t see that emerging, really. Logistically, and from the patrons’ perspective, that really wouldn’t be a runner.
"We have sufficient latitude to manage the fixture programme to avoid any forced strategy like that. The Munster hurling championship has a certain cache with the public and we would see that as continuing.”
Moroney confirmed the Munster Council will now communicate with counties following Congress’ decision to defeat Munster’s proposal to replace the All-Ireland intermediate hurling championship with an U25 reserves competition.
However, it appears Cork may be the only entrant in the intermediate championship.
As he explained: “It originated in Limerick and we had a good bit of discussion about it. Our motion wasn’t endorsed and obviously won’t be happening so there will be an intermediate championship played.
"Certainly, from the soundings we got from our own counties, there will be only one county participating, which is Cork.
“That’s probably because of the tightening up of criteria in regard to getting permission for second-best teams.
"A number of the counties that if they didn’t get the second-best team status, which they haven’t, then they wouldn’t be participating because their teams wouldn’t be strong enough and there would be a question of competitiveness.
“We’ll be taking at CCC (competitions control committee) and full council meetings as to where we go from here.
"Tipperary have indicated some misgivings about participating although that hasn’t been absolutely finalised just yet. If the counties don’t participate, it’s a weakened competition.”
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