FORMER Munster Council Chairman Noel Walsh has claimed the M Donnelly Interprovincial Series is being “deliberately neglected by Croke Park to justify suggestions it should be terminated”.
Walsh, a former Munster football selector and long time advocate of the competition, is furious at the continued failure of GAA headquarters to promote the series.
The weekend semi-finals in Kiltoom and Fermoy were poorly attended — but Walsh was not surprised.
“The Promotion and PR people in the GAA are doing very little before these games.
“So a few years ago we appointed Slatterys PR to help and they did a wonderful job organising events and getting the message out. The lack of promotion was hugely frustrating and that is why we had to go and hire an outside company.
“I know that the era of 50,000 at the matches is long gone and we can’t bring it back.
“But I am sure that with the right promotion we can have between 5 and 10,000 going to the games.
“Look at the promotion around the International Rules in comparison. It doesn’t matter what your product is — if you don’t promote it, it doesn’t sell.”
Said Walsh: “I think the competitions are deliberately neglected by Croke Park to justify suggestions it should be terminated. Check what marketing and promotion you will get in the newspapers in the coming days. I’ll be very surprised if you get anything about the finals other than what the papers do of their own initiative.”
Connacht face Munster in the football decider while Munster play Leinster in the hurling final on Saturday.
However Walsh has questioned the decision to play the competition’s football showpiece in Portlaoise — given the lack of a Leinster team.
He reasoned: “Connacht are playing Munster in the football final on Saturday evening. Whatever chance you have of getting supporters travelling to a home venue you have next to none by playing it at a neutral venue. When I was involved we didn’t pick the venue for the final until we knew the line-up. But this was predetermined regardless of who progressed. It doesn’t make sense and it is an indication of the casualness and neglect that Croke Park are showing to the competition.
“This shows the need for a change of mind set at the highest level.”
Saturday: M. Donnelly Interprovincial Championship Finals, Portlaoise. Hurling: Munster v Leinster, 6pm. Football: Munster v Connacht, 7.45pm.
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