Cats go for All-Ireland change

KILKENNY will be pushing for major change to traditional ways at GAA Congress this year, writes John Knox.

KILKENNY will be pushing for major change to traditional ways at GAA Congress this year, writes John Knox.

The Noresiders have decided to throw their weight behind the growing movement to have the All-Ireland senior finals, hurling and football, changed from their traditional staging dates in September.

Cork clubs Nemo Rangers and St Nicholas have a motion on the Congress agenda to switch the finals to alternate dates, and their idea was given the thumbs up by Kilkenny County Board at their monthly meeting on Monday night.

Delegates from the 32 counties and overseas units of the GAA will meet in Derry on the weekend after next (March 22, 23 and 24).

Motion 71 on the clár reads: “The All-Ireland senior finals shall be played in Croke Park; the football final shall be played on the second Sunday in September and the hurling final shall be played two weeks previous.

“In exceptional circumstances the Central Council may make other arrangements.”

If the motions were passed, that could lead to the hurling All-Ireland final being played in late August most years, which would be a major departure from tradition.

Finals in August

There were five weekends in September last year, and it is the same in 2013, so in situations like that the hurling final would retain a September slot.

However, in all other circumstances the final would be resited to the end of August.

“It would be great for local club championships,” a delegate suggested at Monday’s meeting, which didn’t take long to reach a decision.

“This is a bullet that must be bitten at some stage,” suggested former County Board chairman and current Central Council delegate, Paul Kinsella, who will lead the Kilkenny delegation to Congress. “I suggest we should support the motion.”

There was a quick show of hands. Kilkenny sent out a strong message for change.

Most of the motions are from the Football Review Committee, and the Kilkenny club delegates gave over 90 minutes considering their options.

There was an amusing interlude when one debate stayed into a discussion on the Parish Rule, and things looked like getting bogged down and dragging on and on.

“Move on Ned (Mr Quinn, the chairman) or we will be here until morning,” prompted Jim Ryan (Tullogher-Rosbercon). Delegates did.....move on, that is!

Meanwhile, Kilkenny continues to have difficulties attracting players to lineout with county football teams. The minor selectors organised a training session at the weekend in preparation for the upcoming Leinster championship. One player turned up.

Discourage players

Two clubs made contact to say they their players wouldn’t be able to attend. There was no word from the rest. Four coaches were on hand hoping to work with the players.

“Heads go down when you mention football in this county,” suggested Brendan O’Sullivan, one of the organisers of the Development Squads, when he addressed the ’Board on Monday. “Clubs actively discourage lads from coming in.

“What happened was insulting to the lads involved, the other team officials and myself, and to the county. Give some chance to the youngsters or we can forget about football altogether.

“Football can actually benefit hurling,” Mr O’Sullivan continued. “We are asking you for help. I believe there are plenty of good young footballers in the county.”

The football selectors will try and get things off the ground again this weekend. They have arranged a training session for St James Park on Saturday (5pm).

Squad - Darragh O’Shea (Windgap), John Murphy (Rower-Inistioge), James Rafter, Cormac Connolly, Ricci Drennan (James Stephens), Eugene Alyward, James Deasy (Ballyhale), Ciaran Breen (Barrow Rangers), Kevin Brennan, Jason Cleere (Bennetsbridge), Ed Murphy, Liam Hearne, Martin Kelly, Adam Kennedy, Jamie Byrne (St Fiachres), Maurice Costelloe, Shane Harney (Kilmacow), Padraig O’Fearghail, Aarin O’Neill, Dylan Halligan, Jodie O’Dwyer, Darragh Brennan (Carrickshock), Jack Dunphy, Paul Coss, Michael Kenny, Dean McCann, Eoin Walsh (Lisdowney), Barry Hennessey, Jason Carroll (Dicksboro), David Kinsella, Ian Long, Tom Kenny (Piltown), Eoin Purcell, Ciaran Dunphy, Cormac Fleming (Mooncoin), Aaron Doherty, Andrew Fitzpatrick (Dunamaggin), Cian O’Donoghue, Donnach O’Conner, Tarric O’Conner, Jason Shilley (Tullogher-Rosbercon), Mark Dowling, John Joe Kelly, Brandon Sheehan (St Martin’s), Jason Byrne (Clara), Danny Monks, Cian O’Meara (Thomastown]).

Those unable to attend should notify Brendan O’Sullivan (086-0789151) or Pat Nolan (085-1543610).