’Board hedges bets on home and away agreements until it sees proposals

A BROADENING of the home and away fixtures agreement between counties in Leinster has been brought a step closer, writes John Knox.

A BROADENING of the home and away fixtures agreement between counties in Leinster has been brought a step closer, writes John Knox.

The Leinster Council, Kilkenny County Board has been told, is to draw up a template outlining which counties might participate in home and away agreements in senior championships.

And Kilkenny haven’t knocked the idea on the head, although they were adamant that they would only be interested in having an agreement for senior hurling games with counties who could offer facilities to players and fans on a par with Nowlan Park.

The county has an agreement with Wexford, and Wexford Park successfully hosted the senior hurling championship clash between the counties last year.

Basically that left Laois, Carlow, Westmeath, Offaly and Dublin who Kilkenny could be paired with in the senior hurling series.

In the case of Kilkenny drawing Laois or Carlow in hurling, County Board delegates were told, the county would be expected to concede venue.

“If we draw Carlow, Laois or Westmeath do we concede home advantage,” asked Leinster Council delegate, Ned Buggy (Dicksboro) when he asked for direction before the matter is discussed at provincial level.

John Healy (Tullogher Rosbercon) pointed out that there was an agreement with Westmeath that when the counties clashed in football they always came to Kilkenny. He felt Kilkenny should travel for hurling games as a result, and this was agreed.

Traffic a consideration

The main problem was with Dublin, County Board chairman, Paul Kinsella said. The big question here was whether Parnell Park was capable of hosting such games, with traffic and parking a major consideration apart from ground capacity.

There would be no problem playing Dublin in Croke Park, but the chairman reminded it was not viable to open those grounds for a crowd of 12,000 or so.

“On Offaly and Dublin you make no decision until proposals are put before us,” was Mr Kinsella’s instruction to the Leinster delegates. “You can work away and agree with the others.”

Meanwhile it has been learned that the Leinster games organising body has been given authority to consider Friday evening matches in senior championships where counties are relatively close to each other. This was agreed after a review of the 2012 provincial championships.

In senior hurling, the format for draws used this season is to be retained for 2013. Galway, as Leinster champions, will receive a bye into the semi-finals.

This means that Kilkenny could be playing in a preliminary round next year.

It was also agreed to facilitate London if they apply to enter the Leinster senior hurling championship next year. All London games will be played at venues in the province.

Good returns from Hurling League

Meanwhile, Kilkenny’s victory in the National Hurling League produced bumper returns for the County Board. The Cats won the title by beating Cork in the final.

The county’s share of the Hurling League pot was a massive 115,442 euro, while they received 15,625 euro from the football competition.

The previous season Kilkenny grossed 109,311 euro from the Hurling League when they were beaten in the final by Dublin. The previous year the returns were well down at 79,415 euro.

The most recent Football League money was well down compared with 17,500 euro (2011) and 18,680 euro (2010) over the previous two seasons.

The recommendation from architects Maguire and Hannigan concerning the awarding of the floodlight contract for the Dunmore sports facilities development was accepted by the County Board. The work on this development has been hampered by the bad weather.

It has also been agreed to tarmac half of the angle that is used for car parking at Nowlan Park. The rest will be resurfaced as funds become available.

The County Board is also to set up its own Twitter and Facebook accounts. They will be used mainly as message sending devices and they will be closely monitored, delegates were told.

County Board PRO Conor Denieffe is to liaise with Croke Park on this matter.