Walsh content as Munster jewel is safe

Munster chairman Seán Walsh has welcomed the Hurling Development Committee’s (HDC) proposals to retain the province’s senior championship in its current guise.

Although no Munster team featured in this past season’s All-Ireland final, the first time since the 2000 Kilkenny-Offaly decider, next year’s competition is set to be the most open in recent times.

While the HDC are recommending a qualifier system for weaker counties in Leinster, they have advised the Munster championship remains as it is.

Walsh believes the HDC fully recognise the worth of the four-game competition.

“I’ve been saying it for some time that you can’t tamper with the provincial championships,” Walsh said.

“You can’t change the Munster hurling championship — it’s the mainstay championship of your summer hurling games. I’m glad that people saw the light on that.

“What they have done looks good enough to me and the most important thing is the provincial championship structure, particularly in Munster, remains intact.”

Walsh was pleasantly surprised by the Munster Council’s commissioned independent report, which revealed their work across the schools in the province equated to the output of 62 PE teachers.

“We did a study where we wanted to see the impact in monetary terms the amount of time people are putting in, both in a full-time and voluntary basis. We got a consultancy group to do that for us and the facts don’t lie.

“What is happening on the ground is a massive amount of work both by our paid people and people doing it for absolutely nothing.

“The results were staggering to think the amount of full-time people that would be needed to do the work voluntary people are doing.”

Walsh expressed his delight with Saturday’s Bord Gáis Munster GAA awards in Killarney, attended by more than 250 people.

“It gave us an opportunity to honour and to say thank you to a lot of people who are playing and have played our games and those who are promoting our games, officials and administrators.

“We said three years ago that we wanted to bring this to a new level.

“We made it black tie and gave the event a bit of status and it has gone from strength to strength and it looks like the first Saturday in December is going to be a fixture in the Munster GAA calendar.”

Walsh said the acknowledgement of former Cork and Limerick stars Denis Coughlan and Pat Hartigan was his personal highlight of the evening in the Malton Hotel.

“Everybody in the room could associate with Denis Coughlan and Pat Hartigan with what they did on the field of play and it was great to see them being honoured. People were flocking to meet them after the dinner and it was just extraordinary.”


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